Successes; Advocacy

West Sunset Playground Renovated

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

September 1, 2011: Join us to celebrate the Grand Opening of the new Ortega Branch Library and the West Sunset Playground (38th & Ortega).

Festivities begin at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10, in the plaza with musical entertainment from San Francisco Beacon Center, Rec Connect and others.

Speeches begin at 11 a.m. with San Francisco Supervisor Carmen Chu, City Librarian Luis Herrera, Recreation and Park GM Phil Ginsburg, Department of Public Works Director Mohammed Neru, Neighborhood Parks Council Executive Director Meredith Thomas, Friends of West Sunset Playground, and other officials. There will be an official ribbon cutting and a lion dance performance by the Jing Mo Athletic Association.

Library access will begin at 12 noon and continue to 6 p.m.

Help us welcome back these neighborhood treasures!

February 8, 2011: The old West Sunset playground was demolished today. This means that the playground is on itOld West Sunset Playground Demolitions way to being rebuilt into the safe and inviting playground that NPC’s fiscal group Friends of West Sunset Playground and district 4 Supervisor Chu have been working so hard for these past few years!!

Construction is slated to take place over the next 5-6 months.

Round 1 Community Opportunity Fund Projects Selected

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010
McLaren Park Peru Play Area

McLaren Park Peru Play Area

On December 2nd, members of the Recreation and Park Commission voted to accept the Community Opportunity Fund (COF) Project Selection Committee’s recommendations, pending environmental review, to approve design and fund projects. The Recreation and Park Department received 16 COF applications totaling $1.56 million in requests for this initial $500k ($350k Custom/$150k) round. The following were approved by the Commission:

  • Precita Park
    As a Menu project, this request for $24,450 includes improvements to playground equipment elements, playground surfacing, asphalt paths, and site furnishing.
  • John McLaren Park – Jerry Garcia Amphitheater
    As a Menu project, this $25,000 request to fund Informational/directional signage and kiosks will reinforce the identity of the Amphitheater and improve safety by providing improved wayfinding in McLaren Park.
  • John McLaren Park – Peru St. Playground
    This $239,182 request will replace a vacant playground space with a new playground and ADA- compliant route to playground. The project includes play equipment, rubber play surface, new site furnishing, paving, and drainage. The applicant worked with a volunteer landscape architect and convened several community meetings to develop the plans for the new playground design.
  • Geneva Community Garden
    A $234,764 request, this project funds the Phase 1 construction of the garden and improvements include: demolition, grading/drainage, paving, 21 community garden planters, and new fencing.
  • Sutro Dunes Natural Area
    This project will complement the existing boardwalk by adding interpretive signs,
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    benches and boardwalk extensions to accommodate the benches. The funding request for these improvements is $12,600.

  • Panhandle Park
    This project will have a significant impact on the area near the playground on the Panhandle. Proposed improvements include paving, planting, grading/drainage, and the installation of bike racks and seating. The funding request for this project is $88,920.
  • Pioneer Park
    This $35,000 addresses safety and maintenance concerns at the base of Coit Tower. The project scope includes a new section of fence and new lighting.

Click here to view the COF materials submitted to the Commission.

Background / Description:

As one of the citywide programs of the 2008 Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond, the Community Opportunity Fund (COF) program is a $5 million capital program that allows residents, neighborhood groups, and park advocates to initiate capital improvements in their parks by matching public funding with other private gifts and grants. In the six months since the Recreation and Park Commission approved the program guidelines, staff has managed the first round of program outreach, communication with applicants, selection and convening of the Project Selection Committee, and documentation of the Committee’s recommendations for project selection. Read more here.

Boeddeker Park Received $4M in Prop. 84/AB31 Funds

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Boeddeker Park was one of the recipients of the State Prop. 84/AB31 park grants in the amount of $4 Million for the renovation of the park. The SF Recreation and Park Department in conjunction with the Trust for Public Land (TPL) applied in February 2010 for funding to renovate the park as part of the Assembly Bill 31 legislation that provides money from the Prop. 84 bond funds for parks in under-served communities with little park space.

The Friends of Boeddeker Park are still waiting to hear in early December whether they receive two more grants from other sources: $500,000 for green features at the park such as rainwater capture, and $200,000 for stewardship. The overall park renovation could start in April 2011 if all funds are secured.

2010 Meeting with the Mayor

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

The Neighborhood Parks Council held its annual Meeting with the Mayor on Thursday, June 24, 2010. Representatives from NPC, the Recreation and Park Department and various parks groups met with Mayor Gavin Newsom in City Hall. NPC Executive Director Meredith Thomas opened the meeting with some remarks on the current state of parks, including this past year’s successes and challenges. She introduced the Mayor, RPD General Manager Phil Ginsburg, and RPD Commissioner Mark Buell.

These introductions were followed by brief comments addressed to the Mayor from community representatives. Lisa Ghotbi spoke on behalf of the NPC Steering Committee, followed by Steering Committee Member Bill Weil, and Crystal Van Wallstrom of Dolores Park Works. Kate Scanlan of the Friends of Mountain Lake Park spoke about sustainability in San Francisco’s parks. Sarah Davis of Mission Bay Families addressed open space planning and Juan Carlos Cancino of the Greenhouse Project discussed urban agriculture.

These initial remarks were followed by a question and answer session Attendees had the opportunity to voice their concerns directly to the Mayor. Audience members asked questions both specific and general about their parks and needed improvements, most of which came down to an increasingly tight budget. As Ginsburg gave enthusiastic answers, Mayor Newsom quietly took notes and

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cracked a few jokes while finishing off a giant cup of coffee.

At the end of the meeting, Mayor Newsom used his notes to address each of the questions asked. He praised the improvements already made and was frank about current budgetary limitations facing the Recreation and Park Department.

The annual Meeting with the Mayor is an opportunity for the

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NPC to keep San Francisco’s parks on the civic radar, and allow park stakeholders the opportunity to hear directly from the Mayor on the current status of the City’s parks and plans for the year ahead.

One key action item that we will be following-up on immediately was the agreement of the RPD Commission to work with NPC to hold quarterly park town halls to increase public input on items to go before Commissioners. We hope to have the first town hall this fall.

Click here to see photos.

Meeting documents:

State Parks & Wildlife Conservation Trust Fund Act Update

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Yes LogoAll indicators point to success in our signature gathering drive to place the State Parks & Wildlife Conservation Trust Fund Act—or the state parks initiative—on the November ballot! We want to thank all of the amazing people who have responded to our calls to volunteer to gather signatures up and down the state. Since January, hundreds of energetic volunteers have set up shop just about everywhere including, REI stores (thank you REI!), Farmers Markets, coffee shops, community centers, and of course state parks.

The initiative has also received key endorsements from many environmental and conservation groups, and from the business world. There is no question that businesses recognize the value of parks and open space. Some of these supporters include (to name just a few), the California Travel Industry Association, California Lodging Industry Association,  and Patagonia. However, we still have lots of work to do! Find out how you can help by going to our website. You can also find out up-to-date information on the YesForStateParks website.

RPD Begins Renovation of Failed Playground At Lincoln Park

Friday, July 31st, 2009

As a part of the first phase of the Playground Initiative, NPC and the Friends of Lincoln Park held two workdays at Lincoln Park Playground in the Outer Richmond in 2008. These workdays helped address immediate maintenance and safety concerns, but also brought attention to the need for a complete renovation of the site.

After a year of advocacy, design work, and several more months of community meetings, the Friends were supported by the Recreation and Park Commission, which approved their conceptual design and voted to move forward with the renovation project.

Meghan Tiernan, Project Manager at Rec and Park, reported that the contractor began removing the old play equipment on July 27th, and that renovation is scheduled to begin in August. If all goes according to schedule, Lincoln Park Playground users will be enjoying a brand new facility in February 2010! Congratulations to the Friends for their dedication to replacing their failing playground!

Meeting with the Mayor 2009

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

On June 2nd, 2009 NPC held its annual Meeting with the Mayor at San Francisco’s City Hall. This event is an opportunity for park advocates to hold the City accountable for park performance, and keep parks on the civic radar.

Over 75 park advocates were in attendance, with 8 presenting questions for Mayor Newsom directly. Questions focused on specific topics, including: park maintenance, volunteerism, partnerships, and alternative recreation. Recreation and Park Department (RPD) Interim General Manager Jared Blumenfeld was also in attendance, and answered questions presented by park advocates.

Mayor Newsom concluded the meeting with final remarks, and surprised those in attendance by officially announcing the new General Manager of RPD, Phil Ginsburg. Formerly Mayor Newsom’s Chief of Staff, Phil has been a steadfast park advocate, and underscored his love and commitment of San Francisco’s parks. In fact, his first volunteer experience in the city was with NPC! Phil will begin his new job on July 7th.

Following the meeting, a reception was held in honor of Isabel Wade, NPC’s founder and current Executive Director. After 13 years of leading the Neighborhood Parks Council, Isabel will be stepping down as Executive Director beginning July 1st. Park advocates joined NPC and City staff in celebrating Isabel’s achievements, and welcomed NPC’s soon-to-be Executive Director, a familiar face, Deputy Director Meredith Thomas.

After a rough budgetary season, which includes a large General Fund reduction to RPD’s budget, the meeting and reception underscored the important role that advocates and volunteers play in sustaining our city’s parks. As a new chapter begins for both RPD and NPC, we look forward to continuing to engage the community in making San Francisco’s parks world class.

To see photos from the meeting and reception, click here.

Assembly Budget Committee Chair Releases Proposal To Fund CA State Parks

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

In his May Revise of the 2008-2009 State Budget, Governor Schwarzenegger dropped his draconian plan to close forty-eight State Parks. However, without a permanent funding stream our parks remain at risk.

To keep state parks off the budget chopping block and put them on the path to financial stability while expanding visiting opportunities, late last month, Assemblymember John Laird, Chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee, unveiled the California State Park Access Plan.

The measure would raise $282 million per year by replacing park entrance fees with an annual ten dollar surcharge as part of the California vehicle licensing fee, guaranteeing free year-long access to all state parks.

Currently seventy-seven million visitors pay six to eight dollars per car per day to enjoy California’s State Parks. The revenue generated isn’t enough to keep parks properly staffed and fund the State’s $1.2 billion in deferred maintenance needs.

California State Parks Foundation President, Elizabeth Goldstein, praised Laird’s proposal. “(It’s) truly a rare example of a win-win situation. The public wins by getting free access to their state parks, but also by generating funds that will improve and enhance the parks so that everyone will want to visit them more often. The State Parks system wins by constantly having a reliable source of funding.”

–from the Planning and Conservation League (PCL) Insider newsletter (June 10, 2008)

Annual Meeting with the Mayor 2008

Friday, March 21st, 2008

Meeting with the Mayor 2008NPC’s annual Meeting with the Mayor on April 25th drew more than 75 park group representatives and other strategic partner groups. The goal of this event was to highlight pressing park issues and discuss the Newsom administration’s performance to date. In a two-hour meeting, it was clear that park groups are concerned about many key issues such as RPD’s continued failure to produce work plans for each park as promised. The Mayor seemed equally frustrated.

Click here for the minutes from the event. Click here for more photos.

Park Success Story: Park Bond Passed

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

Clean and Safe Neighborhood Bond (Prop A) Passed!
On February 5th, San Francisco residents delivered a victory for all parks throughout the city by voting in favor of the $185 million Clean and Safe Neighborhood Bond.  The bond measure will raise needed revenue for the improvement of 12 neighborhood parks, and will also set aside a $5 million Community Match Fund which will be used to fund improvements to parks nominated by community groups with financial or sweat-equity match.

Funds will also be set aside for trail restoration to improve access in open space parks, tree planting and canopy restorations, and the repair and replacement of all free-standing restrooms throughout the city.  $33.5 million will be allocated towards improving bay access, creating a blue-greenway of parks along the waterfront, and repairing crumbling sea walls.  Increased accountability measures will ensure that projects are completed in a timely and fiscally responsible manner, so that all San Francisco’s park users can reap the benefits of this great victory at the polls.