Pivotal vote coming on Hunters Pt. redevelopment

The center, which is expected to cost $20 million, is due to open in 2012. But first, the land has to be cleaned. (ABC7)
July 13, 2010 7:10:08 PM PDT
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom calls the redevelopment of the old Hunters Point Naval Shipyard "the most important to our city's economic future." It's been on the drawing board for a decade and Tuesday evening the Board of Supervisors will cast a pivotal vote on its future.

The city's Planning Commission has already OK'd an environmental impact report. The board will decide whether to approve that decision. The plan is to transform the World War II shipyard into San Francisco's newest neighborhood, with more than 10,000 homes and dozens of businesses on a 700-acre site.

A newly released report by the city controller finds enormous economic benefits for the city. For example, the report says during the 20-year construction phase, there would be $4.3 billion injected into the economy. Once the construction is done, the report indicates the housing and offices would pump $11 billion into the city's property tax base.

But the project is controversial and passage is not assured. Some local residents in the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood worry that the shipyard is too contaminated to develop. It is a superfund site, but the city says the federal government has spent $700 million so far cleaning up the solvents, asbestos and other toxic materials in the soil.

The opponents have gained the support of noted environmental scientist Wilma Subra. She was named a MacArthur genius back in 1999 for her work with communities. She is at San Francisco City Hall Tuesday, talking with supervisors, hoping to influence their votes.

Subra says the parcels should be completely cleaned up before any development is done, otherwise she says, "it has the potential to endanger workers that are doing the redevelopment. It has the potential to endanger the community around it."

The board began the debate at 4 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon and board president David Chiu tells ABC7, it could be midnight or later before a vote is taken.


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