By Jessica Kwong
With the help of a Chinatown neighborhood nonprofit, the Willie “Woo Woo” Wong Playground clubhouse is bouncing back from its underutilized state to the busier days of its elevated past.
The clubhouse on Sacramento Street, beneath a basketball court and partially tucked below ground level, until its reopening Tuesday was only open for recreation on an on-and-off basis.
It had been operated that way since 2008, when the recession cut $12 million in funding from the Recreation and Park Department, forcing staff to manage only full-service recreation centers, leaving community partners to oversee the smaller clubhouses like the one at Willie “Woo Woo” Wong Playground.
Those short-staffed days might be a thing of the past.
The Portsmouth Plaza Parking Corp., a community-based nonprofit that runs the Portsmouth Square Plaza Garage, through its lease with The City funds programs and other needs at open spaces in Chinatown.
The nonprofit’s original 50-year lease with The City in 1958 included a $10,000 set-aside to fund other nonprofits in the community. Under a new lease negotiated a few years ago, an additional $60,000 was secured to go toward community open space. That includes $50,000 that has helped the clubhouse reopen this week in its full capacity.