SF Chronicle: Balboa Park’s Grand Reopening

By John Cote

Balboa Park, dedicated in 1910, was a destination spot on San Francisco’s southern side for generations of children.

Thanks to a wave of efforts, including a recently completed $3.5 million renovation, it is once again.

Over the years, the park had fallen into disrepair. Playground equipment wore out and rusted. A photo taken a few years back showed the swing sets broken, their chains looped over the top bar, a seat dangling high in the air. A massive tree limb lay on the ground nearby.

While it still remained a destination for teams playing on its baseball diamonds or soccer field, the general areas of the park were no longer a draw.

“To put it in polite terms, it was kind of dumpy,” said Kim Lee, who on Saturday made the trek from Daly City with her husband, Danny, and 2-year-old son, Marcus, as San Francisco officials cut the ribbon on the reborn Balboa Park. “Now, we have play dates here all the time – a bunch of us do.”

Public, private dollars

Marcus worked his way up a climbing wall and scampered through a bright orange jungle gym tunnel with his 2-year-old buddy Eric Wong, who lives in the nearby Mission Terrace neighborhood.

“Now I bring him here all the time,” Lee said.