SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department announced today the beginning of renovation for Hilltop Park — located in the heart of the Bayview neighborhood and in close proximity to Hunters View, Hunters Point East/West, and Westbrook public housing. The project is a partnership between the Department and The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and is primarily funded by the California State Parks Statewide Park Program.
Improvements include an expansion and upgrade to The Dish, the oldest skatepark in San Francisco, from a simple circular bowl to a state-of-the-art design with challenging elements. Additions to the park will include a new playground, a picnic area with a barbeque, an adult fitness area, a neighborhood trail, improved accessible pathways, and seating throughout the park. There will also be an improved main lawn, an improved sundial plaza with a community performance area, vegetated swales for water infiltration, new lighting for improved visibility, and a new entryway and seating area. The park’s foliage will include California native and drought tolerant plants. There will also be educational signage, telescopes, and community-inspired place-making elements to enhance science and cultural learning opportunities.
In 2011, TPL formed a partnership with Parks 94124, a Bayview parks advocacy group started by mothers who grew up in and still reside in the neighborhood. TPL and Parks 94124 initiated and completed a public planning process around the renovation of Hilltop Park in Bayview. SF Rec and Park’s capital and operations teams assisted the community planning process. The goal of the process was to work with the community to develop a concept for a park renovation that would meet the community’s needs, revitalize the park, and be competitive for the California State Parks Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Grant Program.
“High quality public parks and playgrounds are vital to the success of our young people and our families,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “I am thrilled we are starting renovations for Hilltop Park in partnership with the Trust for Public Land, and through our successful local hire program, providing good paying jobs for Bayview residents.”
In early community meetings, the Bayview community expressed its interest in job training and opportunities for neighborhood residents; the creation of the Hilltop Workforce Training Program is a response to the community’s request. The Trust for Public Land and mack5 Construction Managers developed and successfully implemented a pilot local workforce strategy for the Rocky Graham Park Renovation in Marin City in 2014 – 2015. With support from the Hilltop Park Renovation funders, this team has replicated the Local Workforce Program in which 10 Bayview residents will go through training. Candidates that successfully complete the Hilltop Workforce Training Program will be eligible for membership in the Local 261 Laborers’ Union, and will receive job placement assistance from Hunters Point Family. Job placement opportunities may include placement on the Hilltop Park Renovation project, or other similar construction projects in the Bay Area.
“The renovations at Hilltop Park are going to help transform lives of families and children in Bayview Hunters Point. They will bring residents together and connect them in a safe, community space,” said Supervisor Malia Cohen, whose district includes the Park. “I applaud SF Rec and Park for their efforts in making Hilltop Park a better park for our neighborhood.”
Following the public process, in March 2012, California State Parks awarded TPL a Statewide Park Grant in the amount of $5 million for the Hilltop Park renovation. In April 2013, the Recreation and Park Commission approved an Agreement for the Design and Construction of Hilltop Park between TPL and SF Rec & Park. In spring 2015, the Recreation and Park’s Commission approved additional funding for the project to fund the expanded skatepark through the community’s application to the Community Opportunity Fund program, provided by the 2012 Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond. The project is expected to be completed winter 2016-2017.
“Our city’s families, children and residents living in underserved neighborhoods deserve access to beautiful parks and open space,” said state Senator Mark Leno, D-San Francisco. “I applaud the restoration of this urban park and the inspirational collaborative effort that is making it happen.”
Additional funding came from the State Housing-Related Parks Program and several generous donors to The Trust for Public Land, including the Tony Hawk Foundation.
“This partnership with The Trust for Public Land, Parks 94124, the Tony Hawk Foundation, and the various State grant agencies was fundamental in renovating this park,” said Phil Ginsburg, SF Rec & Park General Manager. “The newly renovated Hilltop Park will drastically improve the park and its amenities. I look forward to joining Bayview residents and residents from all over the city in enjoying this long-overdue renovation.”
“Our mission is to build parks for people and Hilltop Park is a great example of that mission,” said Gina Fromer, California Director of The Trust for Public Land. “This has been a real team effort and it has been a pleasure working with teammates like the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department and Parks 94124. This park will be a real benefit to people who live in this neighborhood.”
“Hilltop Park will be within walking distance for a huge number of the families of Bayview. This park is the tangible proof that collaborative partnerships work when all parties are committed and determined. We will continue creating great spaces for the people of Bayview,” said Maya Rodgers, founder of Parks 94124.
The $368 million Statewide Park Program awards grants for the creation of new parks and recreation facilities in critically underserved communities throughout California. Some 900 applications requested a total of $3 billion for the available $368 million. This shows the extent of unmet community needs throughout California.
“With the envisioned improvements, Hilltop Park has the qualities of becoming one of California’s most unique and attractive community parks. The active design ideas by neighborhood residents helped make this exciting project concept rise above the competition,” said California State Park’s Director Lisa Mangat. “Through this $5 million grant, and the nearby presence of Candlestick State Recreation Area, children, seniors, and families – and future generations – will have safe places to play, exercise and enjoy nature within walking distance from their homes.”
The Statewide Parks Grant Program is one of the programs from Proposition 84 passed by 53.9 percent of California voters in 2006. The 5.4 billion dollar “Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2006” (Safe Drinking Water Bond) is detailed in Sections 75001 through 75090 of the Public Resources Code.