Thursday, October 9, 2014

"It's Cold War to Conservation" in Coyote Valley

Historic Silicon Valley site becoming new public open space preserve
Paul Rogers, San Jose Mercury News, October 5, 2014

The Santa Clara County Open Space Authority has agreed to spend $8.6 million to buy 1,831 acres of the former United Technologies Corp. (UTC) site and open it to the public -- the biggest deal in the agency's 20-year history.

UTC, an early Silicon Valley aerospace company, built rocket motors in a secretive, sprawling property in the hills east of Highway 101, about 5 miles south of San Jose. The massive engines powered Tomahawk and Minuteman missiles for the military, as well as NASA spacecraft that explored Mars, Venus, Jupiter, and the sun.

The lands, a rolling expanse of hills, oak trees and serpentine outcroppings across Highway 101 from Coyote Creek Golf Course, will be open to the public by 2018, the open space agency says.

One portion of UTC's property not being purchased is still being cleaned up. That adjacent 3,282-acre parcel has pollution from perchlorate and other chemicals in the groundwater. It had 241 buildings and about 750 employees when UTC shut down the site after 45 years and moved its operations to Florida in 2004.

Read the complete story here.

Oakland Museum of California to Receive $20M Sculpture Studio and Gardens

Angela Hill, Oakland Tribune, October 9, 2014

Bruce Beasley has bequeathed his two-block cluster of studios and sculpture gardens -- plus many of his own massive abstract works, personal archives of his illustrious career and an endowment for future sculpture-related events and programs -- to the Oakland Museum of California.

The gift, said to be unprecedented by a living artist, is valued at about $20 million, making it the largest single private gift in the museum's 45-year history. Beasley and museum officials will reveal details of the plan on Thursday morning during a reception at the artist's Lewis Street studios -- someday to be called the Bruce Beasley Sculpture Center.

Beasley says the relationship with the Oakland museum is a "logical marriage," considering his deep ties to Oakland where he's lived, worked as a community activist, and created massive sculptures since bursting into the art world in 1962 at the height of the abstract sculpture movement. However, the timing of the gift is certainly not set in stone, as it rests on the advent of Beasley's death, which may be a long time coming.

"You've seen how healthy he is -- when this actually transpires, I hope to be long retired by then," joked Lori Fogarty, OMCA's executive director. In the meantime, some prototype studio tours and community events may begin as early as 2015.

Read the complete story here.