For today's local tourism public service announcement: Coit Tower, the towering landmark we all prefer to enjoy from a safe distance, is closed for renovations as of today and won't be open to the public again until mid-April of next year.
The $1.1 million renovation effort is meant to repair extensive leaks in the 80-year-old tower, where water damage has been a big problem for the ironically firehose-looking monument. With the winter closure, the old family concession stand and gift shop will also disappear after more than 20 years of operation. As general manager Vincent Lo told SF Examiner, his family had long switched from selling hot dogs and pretzels to packaged foods, and decided they got all they could out of the space.
Taking over the gift shop, the concessions, and the elevator operations will be Terry Grimm of the 35-year-old Anchor Oyster Bar in the Castro. When last we heard back in spring 2012, plans for the new concessions included a chowder cart at the base of the tower in Pioneer Park. Although the chowder cart got a clammy reception from the notoriously fussy Telegraph Hill neighbors at first, they've since warmed to the idea and agree now that the new concessions will be an improvement.
Even with the tower closed for the Winter, Pioneer Park will be open for urban stair hiking sessions, photo opportunities and make out sessions during the renovations.