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IMAGES: San Anselmo Park Plans with Yoda and Indiana Jones Statues

The San Anselmo Planning Commission will consider a permit to demolish the building at 535 San Anselmo Avenue. Star Wars creator George Lucas donated the property so it could become a park.

 

The San Anselmo Planning Commission will consider allowing the demolition of the building George Lucas donated to the San Ansemo Chamber of Commerce and Lucas' proposal to turn the downtown property into a community park.

The commission, which meets at 7 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 7 at the San Anselmo Council Chambers, will review a permit to demolish the 6,500-square-foot building and plans for an 8,700-square-foot community park.

Last summer, the Star Wars’ creator announced he was donating the building, at 535 San Anselmo Avenue, with plans to create a park complete with statues of Indiana Jones and Yoda.

The statues will be placed at the top of a basin in a fountain in the park. The top of the Indiana Jones statue will be more than 10 feet off the ground, according to Blasen Landscape Architecture drawings (which are attached at the right). 

The park will include a curved concrete walkway, a lawn area, several shade trees, at least six benches, bike racks, energy efficient lights with timers, a “pet waste station” with a bag dispenser and can, and at least one drinking fountain, according to plans submitted to the town.

San Anselmo-based Blasen Landscape Architecture designed the park, which also includes lighting design by Fairfax-based Anna Kondolf Lighting Design and civil engineering and surveying work by the Novato-based Oberkamper & Associates.

 

ONLY THE MURAL IS CONSIDERED SIGNIFICANTLY HISTORICAL

The structure at 535 San Anselmo Avenue is divided into three storefronts. Part of the building was built as a one-story brick structure with four stores in 1916, according to a historical analysis conducted by Michael Corbett (see it attached at the right).

The largest unit in the building was long occupied by the Rossi Brothers Pharmacy from 1931 until it closed in 1989.

The structure was remodeled in 1948, which included a rear addition, façade remodeling and upgrades to the pharmacy space. The other small stores were remodeled after 1999.

San Anselmo Historic Commission Chair Judy Coy told town officials in an e-mail that the most distinctive historical feature of the building is the mural “History of Pharmacy” by Jose Moya del Pina. She said the current plans to relocate the large painting and donate it to the Spain-USA Foundation for display at the Spanish consulate in San Francisco “seems to accomplish” the preservation of the artwork, “albeit not in a local setting.”

She added that she would like to see the door handles of 535 San Anselmo Avenue donated to the town’s historical museum.

 

LUCAS HAS DONATED MUCH TO MARIN 

Community members have expressed extensive gratitude toward Lucas for his donation.

Lucas has agreed to donate the statues and pay for the demolition of the building, but he is anticipating community outreach and donations to help build the bulk of the town center project, according to San Anselmo Chamber President Connie Rodgers.

Lucas, who was one of the finalists for the San Anselmo – Fairfax Patch 2012 Person of the Year, made national headlines at the end of last week when it was announced that he is engaged to Mellody Hobson.

Lucas garnered national attention in 2012 for his decision to pull the plug on his plans for Grady Ranch and, more recently, when he sold Lucasfilm to Disney for $4.05 billion.

Lucas has paid for the under-grounding of power lines on Miracle Mile, near the San Rafael border, and reconstructed the building that houses Amazing Grace Music.

Also last summer, Lucas donated a Skywalker Ranch fire engine to the Muir Beach Volunteer Fire Department.

 

Do you think the planning commission should approve the demolition permit and park plans? Tell us in the comments!

 

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Bob Hunter January 07, 2013 at 04:18 PM
I feel the park will bring a new vitality to downtown San Anselmo and the planning commission will approve its development. The park wil attract families, artists, and visitors from all over the world.
Bob Hunter January 07, 2013 at 04:27 PM
I walk by the proposed park's location nearly everyday. It's easy to sense how just the light created by the open space will liven up the street scene on SA Ave. I'm seeing small ensemble summer concerts and lights around the park in the darker months.
buster January 07, 2013 at 04:44 PM
I like this project. But, what is the function of this park? A place to sit and drink coffee, read, watch toddlers? That is all good (recognize that we have a lot of these areas already in town). Is there a larger/better function/vision? Can we just say no dogs?
Bob Hunter January 07, 2013 at 05:17 PM
Buster, I think the park will help create a more vibrant retail core for our town. I'm also thinking overnight stays will slowly increase, further boosting retail/restaurant. If this leads to better local shopping/eating options locals can leave theri cars at home.
Kevin January 07, 2013 at 06:55 PM
Go George go!
judy kaufman January 07, 2013 at 09:53 PM
Another fun and thoughtful community offering from Our Hero George Lucas!! We thank him and his terrific crew every day as we set foot into our new Amazing Grace Music building. Judy and John
Latham Woodward January 07, 2013 at 10:33 PM
Across the country, small towns and communities fight for civic contributions. San Anselmo is fortunate to have had Andrew Carnegie donate a library, others who have given our valued open space, and now a new generation of benefactors have appeared from a galaxy far, far away! Thanks George for adding to our community!
Mark W. January 08, 2013 at 05:08 AM
I like the park, but do we have to have a Star Wars theme park? Too commercialized for me. Besides, Star Wars movies sometimes give me a headache. Why not just a nice fountain with natural stone and landscaping, maybe non-commercialized sculpture. But if George insists on Star Wars characters in the park, I guess it's cool.
P. Lea January 08, 2013 at 06:03 AM
This park will be a very welcome addition to San Anselmo and attract more people to visit, and provide a nice place to sit and relax in town. We are so lucky that we live in a place where we can have such a lovely park to look forward to! And where else in the world would someone actually be complaining about having a "Star Wars" themed park...which is really no more than a beautiful fountain with two very cool, discrete statues of iconic film characters?! I can think of so many worse things. Mark W., do you know how many people from all over the world would love to have such a place in their town, "Star Wars" and all! Let's just say "Thanks, George!" and enjoy.
William Bertram January 08, 2013 at 11:07 AM
If this is a park that actually celebrates 'Something', why not make it a Universal & Life-Affirming theme based on our common goals and triumphs over the years? 'Star Wars' is decent idea, but FAR from stellar as ideas go. It is commercial and secular and adds no real value as a reminder to what we all represent as an aspiring Whole. We The People are worth FAR more than 'Star Wars' theme if it is to truly represent us All.~
Jean Jung January 08, 2013 at 08:46 PM
The park and fountain will be a delight. As to the name--I imagine the kids will call it Yoda's Park which clearly defines it as separate from the other parks in San Anselmo. Yoda is a philosophy as much as a special character, always goal oriented, hardworking, against "evil", strong but with a huge heart and magical- a perfect role model. He deserves his own park. It would be fun talk about Yoda's park. The whimsy of the sculpture will make the area even more special. Thank you very much George!
Doug Kelly January 09, 2013 at 06:53 AM
I love the Star Wars Theme. Go drive around Santa Rosa and you'll see plenty of "Peanuts" characters, it's fun and people come to see them. Thanks George.

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