Polo Fields Undergoing Major Renovation

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Weather Delays Mid-March Reopening; Youth Soccer Games Preserved

SAN FRANCISCO– A million dollar grant from the state is allowing the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department to renovate the Polo Fields in Golden GatePark, one of the city’s most popular destinations for soccer and other ground sports.

The project includes the installation of a new irrigation system, new sod, improved drainage and gopher elimination.

The Polo Fields make up the city’s largest athletic field complex consisting of seven full-sized ground sports fields that can be used for soccer, rugby and lacrosse. The fields were previously in poor condition due to a high level of use, gopher holes, and broken irrigation lines. The fields previously could only be watered by dragging hoses out and watering the grass by hand.

Due to weather-related delays this winter, the renovation of the Polo Fields in Golden Gate Park will require an additional eight weeks to be completed, impacting a number of soccer leagues set to begin this spring.

All youth soccer games will be protected and moved to alternate locations, and San Francisco Recreation and Park Department staff is currently working to accommodate as many adult leagues as possible by converting many of the city’s multi-use fields to soccer fields and extending game times into weekend evenings.

The project has been delayed as contractors work to have the new sod take root more sufficiently. Originally scheduled to re-open in mid-March to accommodate the busy spring sports season, the Polo Field’s sod growth was slowed by record low temperatures and ice in November and similar weather patterns in January and February. The additional eight weeks will allow the new sod to fully take root.

"We sincerely apologize to the adult sports leagues for the inconveniences caused by this delay," said Dana Ketcham, supervisor of the department’s permits office. "We are working diligently to find alternate accommodations for these groups, and once the Polo Fields reopen, they will once again be one of the premier sports complexes in the city."

The Department will be able to accommodate many of the schedule changes in large part because of its ongoing partnership with the City Fields Foundation, which has helped renovate five city athletic fields in the past six years, transforming overburdened and ragged fields into state-of-the-art synthetic turf fields that allow for increased play and accessibility because they are rarely affected by weather, gopher holes and field regeneration time.

The City Fields Foundation has renovated fields at Silver Terrace Playground, Garfield Square, Crocker Amazon Park, South Sunset Playground and Kimbell Playground. Additional field renovations at Minnie & LovieWardRecreationCenter and Mission Playground are in the works.

"We’re thrilled about the much needed improvements to the Polo Fields," said Lorraine Woodruff-Long, executive director of the San Francisco Police Activities League (SFPAL). "While delays are never ideal, we know that Rec and Park is doing all it can to accommodate as many games and athletes as possible. Thanks to the addition of new turf fields, more San Francisco kids will be able to play soccer this spring than in past years."

For questions regarding existing field accommodations, the public can call the Permits and Reservations office at (415) 831-5500.

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