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Posted on: December 12, 2019

[ARCHIVED] SF Parks Score High, Continue to Improve in Maintenance, Report Finds


SAN FRANCISCO –San Francisco’s parks were better maintained across the city over the past fiscal year, with less disparity between neighborhoods and continued improvements to formerly lower scoring properties, according to a Controller’s Office report released today.

Overall, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department met 92 percent of its park maintenance standards in fiscal year 2018-2019, the latest Park Maintenance Standards Annual Report found. The score represents a three point increase from the previous two years and a six point increase over four years. It also exceeds its target, which was set by the City at 90 percent.

The report also showed continued dramatic improvements in the conditions of formerly low scoring parks.  In 2015, the lowest scoring park was 60 percent. In 2019, that score climbed 17 percentage points to 77 percent.

“All San Franciscans deserve clean, safe and well maintained public spaces. It’s key to San Francisco remaining a livable city and essential to the health of its residents,” said San Francisco Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “While there is always more to do, I’m very pleased that our high standards and commitment to equity are resulting in better parks for everyone each year.”

Parks in “equity zones” neighborhoods, defined by the State of California as having the highest concentration of residents exhibiting one or more vulnerable population characteristics, also continued to improve. Overall, equity zone parks received an average of 91 percent, a three point rise from the previous year.  Over 61 percent of Rec and Parks’ capital dollars are invested in equity zones, which comprise 20 percent of the city’s park acreage.

The city’s top-ranking 10 properties in this year’s report, with 98 to 99 percent scores, include Boeddeker Park in the Tenderloin; Betty Ann Ong Chinese Recreation Center in Chinatown; Cottage Row Mini Park in Japantown; Maritime Plaza in the Financial District; Argonne Playground, Fulton Playground and Dupont Courts in the Richmond District, Hyde-Vallejo Minipark in Nob Hill; Michelangelo Playground in Russian Hill; and Lafayette Park in Pacific Heights.

The highest ranking park features across the board were trees, outdoor courts, and ornamental beds, with overall maintenance rankings of 93 percent. Restrooms received a 92 percent score.

The condition of many of the top ranking and most improved parks has been partly due to an infusion of bond and open space money. In 2008, voters approved a $185 million Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond to improve park restrooms and replace dilapidated playfields. In 2012, voters again passed a $195 million general obligation bond to improve infrastructure in neighborhood parks. In 2016, voters approved Proposition B, a charter amendment that extended the city’s Open Space Fund to bring in an estimated $1 billion over 30 years for city parks.

This is the 14th Park Maintenance Standards Annual Report. Under an amendment passed by voters in 2003, the City Charter requires the Controller’s Office to work with Rec and Parks to establish objective and measurable park maintenance standards and assess them annually. The goal is to reveal how park conditions change from year to year and to uncover the main drivers of change in park conditions to inform Rec and Parks’ operational decisions.

To view the full report, click here. To explore individual properties by year or neighborhood, go to the new public parks maintenance dashboard.

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