Let’sPlaySF! Initiative

program Status

Let’sPlaySF, a partnership between the Recreation and Park Department and the San Francisco Parks Alliance – seeks to inspire creativity and play throughout the City. In the coming years, 13 playgrounds prioritized for improvement by a citizen task force will be reimagined and redesigned for this and future generations of San Francisco’s children.

After a robust and successful Task Force, RPD is currently engaged in pre-planning activities for the entire LetsPlaySF! Initiative (formerly Failing Playgrounds program) which includes scheduling, scoping and project delivery strategies. This analysis requires consultation with subject matter experts and cost consultants.

Planning for specific playgrounds has begun for:
Merced Heights Playground
Sgt. John Macaulay Park
Washington Square Playground

Recent Achievements

Click here for Final Playgrounds Prioritized for Renovation
– Task Force Final Report (click here) prioritized 13 playgrounds in two tiers
– SFPA Community Forum – Click here to view the summary

Program Background

San Francisco parks have over 135 Children’s Play Area’s (Playgrounds) scattered throughout the City, serving a variety of children’s age groups, neighborhoods, and needs. Given the need to narrow-down the number of play areas that could be renovated, a Task Force, including stakeholders from citywide open space organizations, the school district, children’s advocacy and parent organizations, the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Advisory Committee (PROSAC), and child development experts, prioritized playgrounds for renovation. The Recreation and Park Commission appointed the Task Force in April 2014 and adopted their recommendations in December 2014.

The Task Force met seven times and included substantial public participation. After much discussion and analysis, the Task Force unanimously approved a list of 13 playgrounds to be prioritized for renovation, divided into two tiers. The Task Force recommends that all playgrounds containing Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) Pressure-Treated Wood be first prioritized for renovation. The division of such playgrounds into Tiers was based on low Household Median Income (HMI), high Youth Density, and low Parks Alliance Report Card grades.

Please join us in selecting a final design for the Merced Heights Playground!

We are holding our third community meeting for the Merced Heights Playground on Tuesday January 31st from 6-7:30pm at the Merced Heights Clubhouse. We will be presenting the final proposed concepts of the playground and getting community input and will finalize the design using this feedback. Looking forward to seeing … Continue reading

Sgt. Macaulay Playground Online Survey

We know that community meetings can be difficult to attend for people with long commutes and childcare needs, so we wanted to provide additional opportunity for people to comment on the playground concept.  We have created the below Google Survey which describes the project and the concepts we presented at … Continue reading

Sgt. Macaulay Meeting Presentation

Thank you to those of you who were able to attend the Sgt. Macaulay Community Meeting #3.   Please see the attached presentation for the layout concepts we presented. SJM Mtg. 3 Presentation We are also gathering interest for starting/being a part of a “friends of” group for Sgt. Macaulay and/or … Continue reading

Sgt. Macaulay Park Renovation Community Meeting #3

Please join us for the third public meeting for the Let’sPlaySF! Sgt. Macaulay Park Renovation Project on Wednesday, December 7th  at Boeddeker Clubhouse from 6-7:30pm. We have four proposed layout options for the park and will use community feedback to develop a final proposed layout.   We look forward to seeing you … Continue reading

Washington Square Playground meeting on 11/9/2016

Thank you to all the community members who attended the last Washington Square Playground meeting on 11/9/2016. Feedback for the proposed concept design was overwhelmingly positive, and we received many thoughtful comments on the treatment of the play surface, the overall materials/color palette, seating, and the play structures. Please see … Continue reading

Merced Heights Community Meeting Summary and Survey!

Thank you for all who attended the Merced Heights Playground Renovation meeting.  We really enjoyed hearing your input on the new playground and are very excited to move forward with this project. We know that community meetings can be difficult to attend for people with long commutes and childcare needs, … Continue reading

Task Force Meeting #1 (Agenda)

Meeting 1 Presentation

Proposed Task Force Workplan by Meeting

Failing Playground Task Force Goals

RPD Park Maintenance Standards PES4 Evaluation Form – Children Play Areas

City and County of San Francisco Controller's City Survey Report - Parks and Recreation Chapter

2014 Playground Assessment Tool (SF Parks Alliance)

2014 Playground Reassessment Report (SF Parks Alliance)

2012 Playground Report Card (SF Parks Alliance)

Failing Playgrounds Task Force Meeting #1 Notes

Task Force Meeting #2 (Agenda)

Task Force Meeting Schedule

Anatomy of a Playground

Work Orders related to surveyed Children's Play Areas (Playgrounds)

- Failing Playgrounds Task Force Meeting 2 Notes

Task Force Meeting #3 (Agenda)

- Proposed Tiering of Priority Playground Projects

Map #1 All Playgrounds (Childrens' Play Areas) Citywide

- Map #2 Recently Renovated Playgrounds (Childrens' Play Areas)

- Map #3 Potential Playgrounds (Children's Play Areas) for Future Renovations

- Failing Playgrounds Task Force Meeting 3 Notes

Task Force Meeting #4 (Agenda)

- Tableau Failing Playgrounds Maps and Analysis - Bit.ly/failingplaygroundsmeeting4

- Failing Playgrounds Task Force Meeting 4 Notes

Task Force Meeting #5 (Agenda)

- DRAFT Proposed Alternatives Presented at Meeting 5

- Playground Profiles Presented at Meeting 5

- Maps Presented at Meeting 5

- Failing Playgrounds Task Force Meeting 5 Notes


- Failing Playgrounds Task Force Meeting 6 Notes
- Meeting 6 Final Presentation
- DRAFT Map of Final Playgrounds
- DRAFT Final Playgrounds List
- Combined updated Playgrounds Profile List


-Task Force Meeting 7 Notes

San Francisco parks have over 170 children’s play areas (playgrounds), scattered throughout the city, serving a variety of children’s age groups, neighborhoods, and needs. The $15.5 million Failing Playgrounds Program will focus on renovating, replacing, and remediating dilapidated playgrounds throughout the City. Playgrounds (Children's Play Areas) will be selected for funding by a Task Force co-hosted with the San Francisco Parks Alliance.

The Task Force, which was appointed by the Recreation and Park Commission on April 17, 2014, includes a Rec Park Commissioner, leaders from children’s advocacy and parent organizations, children and family service organizations, and citywide open space organizations along with volunteers from the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Advisory Committee (PROSAC) and RPD’s GreenAgers program.

The Task Force was challenged to identify criteria for Failing Playgrounds and apply it to playgrounds throughout the city. The Task Force made recommendations to the Recreation and Park Commission on playgrounds to prioritize for future renovations. Criteria that the Task Force considered included the following:

  • 2010 Census Data
  • Physical condition of the sites
  • Presence of Pressure treated lumber
  • Analysis of disabled access
  • San Francisco Unified School District playground locations
  • Controller's Office Proposition C evaluation data
  • Evaluation of open space and playground deficient neighborhoods
  • Parks Alliance Playground Report Card

The Task Force started in the end of April and will continue through the beginning of summer 2015. The public was able to attend each meeting and participate through public comment. The Recreation and Parks Commission, informed by these recommendations, selected projects for funding.

The full Bond Report can be found here.

Katie Albright
Executive Director
San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center

Julia Brashares
Director of Street Parks
SF Parks Alliance

Chelsea Boilard
Director of Programs
Coleman Advocates

Alejandra Chiesa
Project Manager - Parks for People
Trust for Public Land

Rob Connolly
Boys & Girls Club of San Francisco

Anthony Cuadro
D7 Representative

Dawn Kamalanathan
Director of Planning & Capital Management
SF Recreation & Park Department

Eric McDonnell
Recreation and Parks Commission

Doreen Pacini
Youth Representative

Albert Ko
Executive Vice President
SF Parent Teacher Association

Michelle Parker
VP Communications
SF Parent Teacher Association

Mario Paz
Executive Director
Good Samaritan Family Resource Center

Mark Scheuer
D8 Representative

Lee Anne Weldon
Council Member, Policy Council
SF Parks Alliance