SF Rec and Park Celebrates Lafayette Park Opening
SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco Recreation and Park Department will be celebrating the grand opening of Lafayette Park with a ribbon cutting ceremony and a neighborhood celebration on Saturday, June 8th, 2013. City leaders, Friends of Lafayette Park, and park advocates will be present for the ribbon cutting ceremony at 11:00AM. In addition, the neighborhood celebration will include children’s play day and activities, bluegrass music performance by Green activist singer-songwriter Nell Robinson, Sylvia Herrold on guitar and back-up vocals and Annie Staninec. Neighbors are encouraged to bring their own picnic to the celebration.
“We are investing in our entire park system to make sure our City’s residents have safe, clean and beautiful parks to visit,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “The Lafayette Park renovations not only provide families with a renewed open space to visit, but it shows what can be accomplished when we work together in partnership with our communities.”
“The Lafayette Park renovation brings a 21st century upgrade while maintains its historic integrity so that future generations of San Franciscans will be able to enjoy the park and appreciate its significance for years to come,” said District 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell. “We applaud SF Rec and Park Department and our community advocates for their ongoing commitment and contribution to improving our neighborhood parks.”
San Francisco voters devoted over $10 million of the 2008 Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond to improving Lafayette Park, one of Pacific Height’s crown jewels. The project scope included the repair and renovation of the restroom facilities, the children’s play area, picnic area and courts. In addition, the renovation also restored roads and pathways, upgraded lighting and irrigation, modified the site to remove barriers and improve accessibility as well as reconditioned the overall park landscape.
“The Parks Bond renovation has made Lafayette Park more environmentally friendly with new water-saving irrigation system, more accessible with ADA improvement, and more family friendly with a new children’s playground,” said Phil Ginsburg, SF Rec and Park General Manager. “And we know that project like this one, cannot be done by the Department alone. We are thrilled to have the support from our City and community leaders.”
“This was truly a community project. Neighbors, government, and nonprofits came together to plan, design, and now, enjoy this wonderful urban open space,” said Lynne Newhouse Segal, President, Friends of Lafayette. “We didn’t just create a park. We created a community around it.”
“We’re proud to have revitalized Lafayette Park so that future generations of families can benefit from this neighborhood gem,” said Mohammed Nuru, director of the San Francisco Department of Public Works. “By working hand in hand with the community, we created a very special place that is environmentally sustainable, accessible, safe, fun and ready for all ages to enjoy.”
Lafayette Park is an 11.5 acre multi-use park bounded by Laguna, Sacramento, Gough and Washington streets in the Pacific Heights district. Though it has undergone some alteration during its 143-year existence, it retains good integrity. Until the current renovations completed with funding from the 2008 Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond, the park only underwent irrigation upgrades in the 1960s, and the children’s playground area was upgraded in the early 1980s.
Rich with a history that spans back to the 1860s, Lafayette Park has hosted a myriad of “owners” over time, but it is closely associated with former City Attorney, Samuel Holladay. The city’s designation of Lafayette Park sparked one of the most celebrated and longest-running land title disputes in the city’s history, which attorney and socialite Samuel Holladay was in a legal battle with the city for nearly seventy years; the legal battle even continued after Holladay’s death. So it was not until 1936 that the City secured Lafayette Park as purely public space – that is with the exception of the St. Regis Apartments which remain the only privately-owned building in a San Francisco public park.