.

George Lucas Downtown Park Project Moving Forward

Demolition permit filed for downtown San Anselmo property that will be turned into a park with statues of Indiana Jones and Yoda .

 

San Anselmo resident George Lucas has filed a permit with San Anselmo town officials to demolish the downtown building he donated to the nonprofit San Anselmo Community Foundation earlier this summer, according to the Marin Independent Journal.

The vacant building, at 535, 539 and 541 San Anselmo Avenue, will be demolished next year and turned into a park complete with bronze statues of Indiana Jones and Yoda. See a rendering of the park, designed by San Anselmo-based Blasen Landscape Architects, at the right.

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

Work had previously started to relocate a historical fresco from the building that used to hold Rossi Brothers Pharmacy, but San Anselmo town officials said the relocation efforts must wait until a demolition permit — including a historical analysis — is approved, according to the IJ.

The fresco will be preserved and donated to the Spanish consulate in San Francisco.

The community has appeared to rally behind the project and Lucas’ donations.

San Anselmo town officials have said Lucas has been a great neighbor in the San Anselmo community. His contributions have included paying for the under-grounding of power lines on Miracle Mile near the San Rafael border and constructing a new building in the median of the road that is now home to Amazing Grace Music, according to San Anselmo Town Manager Debbie Stutsman. 

Lucas recently made headlines around the world when . He planned to donate the $4.05 billion he made from the deal to his foundation Edutopia, which is based in San Rafael and supports education programs.

Lucas also recently made the best of his stunning decision to pull the plug on his proposed film studio at his Grady Ranch property in North San Rafael by offering to work with Marin Community Foundation to bring affordable housing to Grady Ranch. 

tony masi December 01, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Thanks! I didn't realize that. I loved those books when I was younger. "Fear is the mind killer" is still sage advice at any age. I think Frank has since passed on and for a while his son was writing the series, but I may be wrong. PS. I saw a picture of the Yoda fountain in the IJ and it looked kind of fun. Not quite as interactive as I had hoped, but novel just the same. I bet the background story on this Lucas park donation would be pretty interesting. Did he own this property for long? If not, was it his original intention to turn it into a park from the get go? I haven't been following the history of this story so I really don't know.
Larry Ericson December 02, 2012 at 05:09 AM
Aesthetically mixed? My interpretation of this is that you want a downtown monoculture where every building looked exactly alike…aka the Potemkin village approach of Stowe VT, Santa Barbara, and Palm Springs where wealthy white people go to play. Towns need a little quirkiness to make them interesting. Secondly, what do Yoda and Indian Jones represent to the public? Yoda is wisdom mixed with moralism. Indie was a highly educated professor who instead of resting on his laurels, still sought out adventure. Any town can do broken tile work sculptures, ceramic pigs or bears or cheap looking colored banners – how many towns can say that the invention of those fictional icons lead, not only to a philanthropist donating millions to his hometown, but also inspired thousands of children to stick with education or to go and discover the world beyond their monotonously designed gated communities? And I agree with Jim: San Anselmo food could do better. Until 6 months ago, the downtown restaurant scene had no pulse. I give great kudos to the 4 places that have opened recently to make a run at it. I encourage the public to get out and dine local. It keeps the chains out, helps your neighbors and builds a cohesive community.
tony masi December 02, 2012 at 03:21 PM
I'm all in to quirky (if not outright hallucinogenic) and grateful recognition for public philanthropy (even if Larry is stretching it a bit in my estimation). Still, this story has some unexplored facets that intrigue me. And although I don't get what Yoda has to do with local cuisine, maybe the downtown introduction of the 'force' can act like some mystic seasoning and elevate the taste of the surrounding culinary offerings (if need be).
tony masi December 03, 2012 at 12:59 PM
I just read some past Patch articles and found that it was the San Anselmo Town Council that approached George Lucas and asked him to donate his property for the proposed park. Wow! That's pretty ballsy. It throws this story into a completely different perspective for me. The Town Council in their gratitude should make Lucas something like honorary King or Emperor of San Anselmo for one week out of every year and allow George to do whatever he damn well pleases as Supreme Monarch of the town. It could be like a festival, with a coronation, and lots of street events and parties and film screenings. It's not such a bad idea.
Catherine Gloria Tripp December 10, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Is that a Stop Work Order in the window? So the Planning Department has stepped in to assure No Progress is made on this worthy project?

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