SF Rec & Park Breaks Ground on New Park at 17th & Folsom

The $5.2 million project will convert a parking lot into a neighborhood park

SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Recreation & Park Department proudly broke ground today at what will become a new park at 17th & Folsom Streets in the Mission District. This will be the first new neighborhood park to be acquired and built by the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department in over a decade. Planning for the park began in 2008 with the adoption of the Eastern Neighborhoods Rezoning and Area Plan when SF Rec & Park acquired the site with support from the Eastern Neighborhood Impact Fees Fund. In 2010, SF Rec & Park received a grant for the design and construction of the new park. The public planning process for the development of the park was done in partnership with SF Planning, San Francisco Public Works, Supervisor David Campos’ office, the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, PODER and other neighborhood organizations. The park is primarily funded by a $2.7 million California Recreation and Parks Department Statewide Park and Community Revitalization Grant. Today, a groundbreaking ceremony took place at the site of the future park.

“San Francisco has incredible parks throughout the Recreation & Park Department,” said Senator Mark Leno, D-San Francisco. “Let’s celebrate that state funds are helping our city acquire land to build more green spaces in historically underserved neighborhoods.” 

The park will be bound by Folsom Street between 17th and Shotwell Streets. To the north of the park site, the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) is planning a 101-unit housing development. The site was acquired in January 2012 through a property transfer from San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and currently houses a paid-parking lot and an SFPUC electrical control panel. The 31,850 square foot neighborhood park will feature an outdoor performance & classroom space, a lawn, an interactive water feature (which then reuses the water in the park’s irrigation), adult fitness equipment, a community garden, native landscaping/drought tolerant shrubs and trees, wildlife habitat and educational gardens, and accessible pathways and lighting. 

The park at 17th & Folsom is a rare example of turning a parking lot into a beautiful new green space from the ground up. This project allows SF Rec & Park to meet the growing need for open space in San Francisco as the population grows over the next several decades. This is part of a larger effort to support the City’s mission to provide healthy and safe recreation for children and adults.

“I am excited by a brand new park in the Mission neighborhood for a community that deserves quality green, open spaces and recreation for more youth, families and seniors,” said Mayor Ed Lee.

The new park will convert more than half of the site to permeable surfaces in the form of a lawn, children’s play area surfacing and landscaping. The interactive water feature at the children’s play area will commemorate the historic Mission Creek that ran through the site. There will also be an art component which will include laser panels of the California condor and blue heron at the perimeter fence near the entry plaza. The park will include sustainable techniques such as installing an efficient irrigation system with climate based controls and reusing water from the water feature for the underground irrigation system. Additionally, the contractor will utilize recycled and local materials, energy efficient outdoor lighting, and the reduction of heat-island effect by using reflective surfaces.

“This is a great example of how the City and the community can come together to better one of the most densely-populated neighborhoods in the City,” said District 9 Supervisor David Campos whose district includes 17th & Folsom. “This is an important addition to our district and the City at-large.”

Funding also came from the Eastern Neighborhood Impact Fees Fund, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Funds, a California Department of Housing and Community Development Grant, the 2006 Lease Revenue Bond, and Open Space Program Funds.

“We don’t always get to build new parks,” said Phil Ginsburg, SF Rec & Park General Manager. “Now, with the community, we’ve designed a park that meets the needs, desires, and creativity of the neighborhood. I cannot wait to come back to celebrate the opening.”

PODER is a 25-year-old community-based organization rooted in the Latino immigrant population of San Francisco’s Mission and Excelsior Districts. The organization focuses on nurturing the leadership of everyday people to shape their neighborhoods and local economies by ensuring solutions that are locally-based, community-led and lead towards healthy and resilient communities.

This is a great victory for the Mission District neighborhood and community. It took lots of work and deep collaboration of neighborhood families and youth, local schools, and our City departments to ensure this publicly-owned parking lot is transformed into a green oasis,” said Oscar Grande, PODER Community Organizer. “Despite the challenges reshaping our working class immigrant neighborhoods, this new park is a testament that when the community and the City work together, great things can happen.”

San Francisco Planning helped lead the effort with SF Rec & Park to identify the new site based on needs recognized by the Eastern Neighborhoods Area Plan for the Mission District.  After a robust community engagement process, they worked to develop a conceptual design.

“The 17th Street and Folsom Park project meets one of the highest priorities of the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan, which is bringing balance to a growing community amidst rapid growth,” said John Rahaim, Director of Planning. “I’d like to take this moment to celebrate the hard work put in by staff at all City agencies as well as the Mission community for making this happen. This park will be enjoyed by those who live here now as well as generations to come.”

San Francisco Public Works was involved in the community planning process from the very beginning in partnership with SF Rec & Park and SF Planning. Public Works landscape architects solicited and received the community’s input and designed the park. Public Works staff will also be overseeing the construction and managing general contractor Bauman Landscape and Construction.

“Involving the community is what makes the difference in creating this brand new park,” said San Francisco Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru. “We love the ideas that come from the families and neighbors who will use this park in the coming years. Their participation and creativity is what will make this park a very special place.”

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