Yoda and Indiana Jones are officially coming to Marin, thanks to Star Wars creator George Lucas.
An audience of more than 40 people erupted into cheers and applause Monday night after the San Anselmo Planning Commission approved plans for a downtown park complete with statues of Yoda and Indiana Jones.
The seven-member commission OK’d the demolition of 535 San Anselmo and the creation of an 8,700-square-foot park. to the San Anselmo Chamber’s San Anselmo Community Foundation, along with plans for the park.
Lucas helped design the park’s 15-foot-diameter fountain, which will feature bronze statues of the characters from two of Lucas’ most popular films.
While many planning commissioners asked pointed questions to those involved in the project at the Jan. 7 public hearing, most of the commissioners ended up smiling or laughing at one point or another.
For example, when commissioner Judy House asked the project’s Landscape Architect Eric Blasen what anti-theft measures would be done for the statues, commissioner Marty Zwick joked that they would have force fields. The entire chamber erupted into laughter.
The commission unanimously approved the project after adding a requirement that dogs always be on leash in the park.
Commissioners also spent some time discussing how the park could help with flood prevention.
San Anselmo Public Works Director Sean Condry said the park will be able to hold up to one inch of water.
Another topic of much discussion was the formal structure involving who owns the park and who will maintain it.
Connie Rodgers, San Anselmo Chamber of Commerce CEO, said the San Anselmo Community Foundation plans to maintain the gathering place. See more of Rodgers comments about the park in the attached video.
“It’s not town owned or maintained, but they have committed to maintaining and having it open to the public,” Interim Planning Director Diane Henderson told the commission. “They have been working with the town manager for many months now.”
Attorney Natalie Delagnes Talbott, who was representing the 535 San Anselmo Avenue property owners, told the commission work is underway for the foundation to have insurance and to create an endowment plan, ensuring the park is maintained over the years.
Before 535 San Anselmo Avenue is demolished, the historic mural “History of Pharmacy” by Jose Moya del Pina will be relocated and donated to the Spain-USA Foundation for display at the Spanish consulate in San Francisco.
The door handles of the structure, which housed the Rossi Brothers Pharmacy from 1931 to 1989, will be donated to the San Anselmo Historical Museum.
Four people spoke in favor of the project during public comment.
Some of the commissioners, including House and David Swaim, said they would like to see the park, currently called “San Anselmo Park,” named “Lucas Park”.
Town staff reminded the commission they had no say in what the park is named — because it is private property.
Other commissioners, including Matt Brasler, chair Pascal Sisich and Danny Krebs, weren’t as enthusiastic about the idea of the park being called Lucas Park. See some of Brasler’s and Sisich’s comments in the attached videos.
Rodgers said they hope to have the park complete by June 1.
What’s your reaction? Are you excited about the park? Do you think it should be called Lucas Park? Tell us in the comments!
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