(For images click here. Photo credit Jim Watkins)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA –With a design inspired by its wooded surroundings, a nature play area to spark creativity, and a dramatic spiral tower soaring above it all, the newly-renovated playground at Golden Gate Heights Park has opened to the public, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department announced today.
The $2.8 million makeover also includes a climbing wall, monkey bars, slide, basket swing, spinner, rolling arches and spring disc steps. The renovation is part of the Let’sPlaySF! campaign, a partnership between the Recreation and Park Department and the San Francisco Parks Alliance to transform the city’s 13 most timeworn playgrounds into dynamic hubs for creativity and family life.
A nature exploration area, created by repurposing logs and other natural materials, offers opportunities for unstructured play and discovery. A combination of natural challenges and loose parts helps children negotiate risk while stimulating creativity, teamwork, and appreciation of nature. San Francisco Children and Nature, a collaborative that increases children’s access to nature, provided design and construction oversight of the exploration area.
“This playground is a beautiful manifestation of the vision and partnership between our city departments and community. As a champion for a family-friendly San Francisco, I am incredibly excited that we can welcome children and families back to this beautifully renovated space,” said District 7 Supervisor Myrna Melgar. “Open play space and the opportunity to interact with nature is critical for the healthy development of our children and an important resource for all our residents, especially families.”
Beyond the playground, the park’s makeover includes a new irrigation system and sod for the field, a larger picnic area with new seating, an ADA-complaint entrance, pathway repaving, a volunteer-built butterfly habitat, a community bulletin board, and a bioswale designed to capture and infiltrate stormwater runoff. These elements were funded through the 2012 San Francisco Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond’s Community Opportunity Fund, which allows neighbors to propose projects to benefit their community.
“Creative, safe, and fun playgrounds are vital for kids. Play is essential to healthy development, promoting everything from critical thinking to social and emotional skills,” said San Francisco Recreation and Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “The renovated playground at Golden Gate Heights Playground is exciting while never losing sight of the value and beauty of nature.”
"SF Parks Alliance is proud to have worked with the community to transform this playground into a safe and imaginative place for children to thrive—such work is core to our mission and the future of our city," said San Francisco Parks Alliance CEO Drew Becher. "The completion of Golden Gate Heights Playground is an important milestone in the Let’sPlaySF! Initiative, which will change the lives of more than 20,000 children across San Francisco by providing them with 13 new and incredible playgrounds to explore."
SF Public Works provided construction management and landscape architecture design for the project, which was shaped by input from neighborhood residents.
“Golden Gate Heights Neighborhood Association worked on the park project for eight years,” said Karen Metro, one of the neighborhood association’s directors. “It started with a survey of community members that identified features to be improved or added, then continued through numerous community meetings, tireless volunteering and fundraising. This is the first major work done in the park in decades and the community is looking forward to all these improvements.”