Department Of Interior

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Office of the Secretary
Contact: John Wright, 202-208-6416
For Immediate Release: April 23, 2004
Chris Powell, 415-561-4732
Secretary Norton Touts Improvements at Cliff House
as Part of National Park Week Celebration

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.--Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton toured the Cliff House, at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area today as part of her weeklong visit to national parks highlighting the celebration of National Park Week, April 17-24.

"Cliff House is not only an historic structure, but also one of San Francisco's most important icons," Norton said. "The redesign and improvements made here will enhance visitor safety by restoring the 1909 building with current seismic technology; bring it into compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act, public health and other building code standards."

The Cliff House is located in the Sutro District at the western edge of San Francisco, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It is one of the most popular sites within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, with more than 1.5 million visitors annually. The first two Cliff Houses were destroyed by fire, and the present structure was built in 1909.

Norton observed firsthand the progress the National Park Service has made on the Cliff House rehabilitation. The historic renovation is about 85 percent complete, with a grand opening scheduled for August 2004. Although up until now, one dining room has remained opened throughout the renovation, the restaurant will close Monday, May 3, and reopen in August.

"We are addressing the long-standing neglect that we inherited when we took office by keeping up with the maintenance of buildings, facilities, roads and habitat in our National Parks," Norton said. "Preserving the natural beauty of our special places while enabling millions of people to enjoy them each year takes work-lots of it-by Interior employees, partner groups and volunteers."

The renovation and expansion is being accomplished through demolition of the additions to the building since 1909, construction of a new 8,850 sq. foot dining area and stabilization of the outside terrace. The site has enjoyed 150 years of use by the local community and visitors alike, and the public's participation helped to determine the primary direction for the renovation.

The project is funded through federal dollars and concessionaire funds for a total cost of $17.1 million. The $4.9 million federal dollars include Fiscal Year 2002 Fee Demo funds of $1.9 million, FY03 Line Item funds of $1.8 million, and FY03 Franchise Fee Funds of $1.2 million. The concessionaire funds total $12.2 million.

The tour included the Sutro Baths, one of San Francisco's historic bath houses of the early 1900s. The Secretary also viewed the historic cornice restoration work on the original 1909 facade, and the original ceilings and ornate building columns.


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