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San Francisco has grand — and expensive — plans for transforming Treasure Island into an eco-friendly mini-city on the bay.

Earlier this year, the city agreed to pay $105 million for the sparsely populated 400-acre outpost. Over the next 15 years, developers plan to turn the former U.S. Navy base and adjacent Yerba Buena Island into a model environmentally benign neighborhood, boasting 8,000 new homes, a farm, wind-powered residential towers and thousands of spots designated for low-income formerly homeless people.

Sounds great — but will it work?

So far, local media have covered this ambitious and costly plan in bits and pieces, but few have examined the transformation of Treasure Island in light of the real challenges of building a new development with such architectural and social aspirations — all on a garbage dump in the bay.

Who will live there? Who will pay for it? Will it ever really get built?

The San Francisco Public Press will probe these questions in a package of in-depth reports as a special section of our pilot print newspaper, debuting June 22. The stories will also be published online at sfpublicpress.org, Spot.Us and Shareable.net.

Our team of veteran and award-winning reporters is interviewing the developers, city officials and architects, and poring over documents about the nuts and bolts of financing, development and environmental remediation. They’re also examining the city’s green planning schemes and proclamations about cutting-edge community building.

The Public Press has a track record for producing in-depth public-policy stories in print and online. Last fall, we reported and edited “Unparalleled Bridge, Unprecedented Cost,” published as the cover story in the award-winning San Francisco Panorama, a single-edition newspaper from local independent book publisher McSweeney’s. The eight-page package calculated the real cost of the new east span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, examined why construction is so far behind schedule and over budget and exposed state agencies shielded from California’s open meetings and records laws.

Treasure Island redevelopment warrants this same kind of in-depth examination. Especially now, before public money is committed and the dirt is turned.

***FREE NEWSPAPER WITH YOUR DONATION***    Give $10 or more to this pitch, and we will send you the pilot print edition of the San Francisco Public Press on Tuesday, June 22! You’ll receive a 28-page, ad-free, public-media broadsheet newspaper featuring important, public-interest local news reporting focused on San Francisco, with supplemental Bay Area, state, national and international coverage. The pilot edition will include original news stories from more than 20 local freelance writers and more than 20 nonprofit and independent producers, including KQED, KALW, New America Media, The Christian Science Monitor, the Center for Investigative Reporting, The Bay Citizen and The Commonwealth Club of California.

 
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Spot.Us is an open source project to pioneer "community powered reporting." Through Spot.Us the public can commission and participate with journalists to do reporting on important and perhaps overlooked topics. Contributions are tax deductible and we partner with news organizations to distribute content under appropriate licenses.