Tens of millions of dollars is being used to repair Alcatraz which is seen as one of America’s most iconic tourist attractions.
The $35 million funding package, from the Great American Outdoors Act, is being allocated to Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
The amount, which is equivalent to around £31 million, is being allocated for a major infrastructure project on the island.
The former high security prison is one of the most visited areas of San Francesco with more than one million people going there every year.
Infamous inmates included gangster Al Capone, ‘Machine Gun Kelly’ and Robert Stroud who was better known as ‘The Birdman of Alcatraz.’
It’s expected the money will repair and seismically strengthen the concrete wharf on Alcatraz Island.
‘Generations of park visitors, locally and internationally, have enjoyed the experience at Alcatraz Island,’ says Carey Feierabend, Acting Superintendent of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
‘Ongoing investments in critical infrastructure and operations will allow the park to continue to tell important stories at Alcatraz and throughout the park’s 82,000 acres.’
Active prison to tourist attraction
Alcatraz Island was an active prison until the 1960s when it was closed, before becoming part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in 1972.
The Alcatraz concrete wharf has not been rehabilitated since it was constructed in 1939. The island, long known for its dangerous ocean currents and exposure to the elements, has had severe impacts on its aging infrastructure.
Experts say the stabilisation of the island’s point of access will ensure that all visitors have consistent, safe access to the island.
It’s expected the funding will help a number of visitor services at the historic site, including restrooms, the dock office and store, interpretive exhibits, accessible site furnishings and the accessible tram.
Managers at Alcatraz say that the project builds on previous investments which have helped preserve key areas, including improvements to the cellhouse.
The wharf project will allow uninterrupted visitor access to Alcatraz facilities during construction. There are also expected to be improvements to ‘Finger Pier’ which will be funded in part by the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.
Photography Credit: Imagery courtesy of Sharon Goble, If Media (UK)