San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today announced the allocation of $3.9 million in federal funding to renovate Buchanan Street Mall, which stretches five consecutive blocks between Eddy and Grove streets in San Francisco’s Western Addition. The funding comes from the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program, administered through the National Park Service, which provides $61 million in awards to 26 cities across the United States to establish or renovate new and existing parks.
With the allocation of these funds, the improvement project is now fully funded. Construction will begin on the first three blocks, from Eddy Street to Golden Gate Avenue, and McAllister Street to Fulton Street, in Spring of 2023. Construction of the remaining two blocks, from Golden Gate Avenue to McAllister Street and Fulton Street to Grove Street, will begin in Summer 2024.
“As someone who grew up in the Western Addition, I am proud to see this community-focused project move forward,” said Mayor Breed. “Parks and public spaces are critical for the development and well-being of our communities, and as we continue to recover from the pandemic, we need to ensure that we are investing in public spaces for all San Franciscans to grow and thrive. I want to thank the National Park Service and the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership for providing the extra funding needed to transform this space.”
The vision for the Buchanan Street Mall Project, developed in an ongoing partnership with the community since 2014, is to create a vibrant, safe, and equitable gathering space that encourages interaction between people of all ages. The project’s design includes a flexible open plaza, a creative new playground, sports courts, adult exercise equipment, a barbecue area, community gardens, a canopy stage for events, expansive lawns for relaxing, and a Memory Walk incorporating art and interpretive elements to tell the stories of the neighborhood.
“The community has shaped every aspect of the plan for Buchanan Street Mall. This is their vision and reflects the neighborhood’s rich culture and history. We are so excited to bring the design to life,” said San Francisco Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg.
The Buchanan Street Mall conceptual design was funded by The Trust for Public Land and its donors. Seed funding came from the 2012 Neighborhood Parks Bond and Let’sPlaySF! program, with additional funding coming from the 2020 Health and Recovery Bond, development impact fees, and the Buchanan Joint Green Infrastructure Project, a partnership between the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, as well as California’s Prop 68, which voters passed in 2018. Additionally, Senator Scott Wiener worked to secure $4.8 million in state funding for the renovations.
“The Buchanan Street Mall is an essential public space for the Western Addition community. This federal grant, combined with the state grant I secured last year will ensure the Buchanan Street Mall becomes a lively and useful community space. I look forward to seeing this project come to fruition,” said Senator Scott Wiener.
“The Buchanan Street Mall project isn't just about creating a beautiful new park, but is also about giving the Fillmore community a place to celebrate the rich history of their neighborhood and a place to inspire hope for a healthier, safer future,” said Guillermo Rodriguez, California State Director for Trust for Public Land. “The determination from so many to take this park from idea to action is truly inspiring and Trust for Public Land is proud to celebrate full funding with this federal grant to make the community’s dream soon a reality.”
The project is a partnership between the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, Citizen Film, Green Streets, The Trust for Public Land, the Exploratorium’s Studio for Public Spaces, and the San Francisco Park Alliance.
“Through conducting interviews, our Youth Leadership Team came to understand that gentrification and a lack of communication were at the root of why youth had lost respect for the elders. We talked through generational differences, why we are here today, and hopes and dreams for the future. It’s been a collaboration between CBOs, nonprofits, and community members, reinvigorating the Harlem of the West,” said Citizen Film Outreach Director Tamara Walker.
Storytelling through documentary film has been central to the vision of the new Buchanan Street Mall. Project partners Citizen Film and Green Streets worked together to film and screen stories among residents, documenting the community’s desires and facilitating collaboration in the neighborhood.
About Buchanan Street Mall
The Buchanan Street Mall was built by the then-San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, opened to the public in 1975, and transferred to the Recreation and Park Department in 1976. The park underwent major renovations in the late 1980s and early 1990s and received repairs in the early 2000s. After years of underuse, the Buchanan Street Mall came alive again in 2015 after the partnership installed temporary activations that drew neighbors, including gardens, benches, archways, historical photos, lighting, and two “audio-domes” providing stories from the neighborhood.