Officials negotiate lease for Alcatraz ferry location

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San Francisco Port Commission officials are working on negotiating a lease that would keep the Alcatraz ferry in Fisherman's Wharf. (KGO-TV)

Roughly 1.5 million visitors make the trip to Alcatraz every year. Now, there's a debate about where that ferry service should be located and the public is getting a chance to voice its opinion about three options.

Alcatraz has been open for public tours since 1972 and for the past 9 years visitors have boarded the ferry at Pier 31 , but the lease on that port property is about to expire and the National Park Service is now examining its options for a 50 year lease.

San Francisco Port Commission officials want to keep the service where it is and are getting an update on negotiations Tuesday afternoon.

Sharry and David Wright object to one of the proposals to move the Alcatraz ferry operation to Pier 3 at Fort Mason, which would bring traffic and other disruptions into a tranquil secluded part of the Marina District.

The National Park Service is also evaluating a move back to its former home base of Pier 41, but that would replace the commuter ferries or it might just stay put. The negotiations involve financing and investment in the infrastructure. "The financial picture, we understand what that is at Fort Mason because that's a National Park Service site and so in order to have a range of alternatives of course we wanted to look at all potentially viable alternatives," Golden Gate National Recreation Area spokesperson Howard Levitt said.

Port officials are fighting to keep the ferries from floating off their property, but say the National Park Service is asking for unusual terms to stay. "It would put maintenance and repair of their site above others and that's really not part of the plan for the port," San Francisco Port Commission President Leslie Katz said.

Katz says the federal officials have pulled a bad offer off the table and now both sides are optimistic an agreement can be reached.

Related Topics:
businesspoliticstourismtouristnational park servicenegotiationsAlcatraz IslandSan Francisco
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