City Leaders Champion Playfields
Mayor Ed Lee and Members of Board of Supervisors Sign Ballot Initiative to Increase Use of Playgrounds, Walking Trails and Athletic fields
SAN FRANCISCO – Mayor Ed Lee, and eight members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors signed off today a ballot initiative to support more playgrounds, walking trails, and playfields for the City.
The eight supervisors including, Board President David Chiu, London Breed, Malia Cohen, Mark Farrell, Eric Mar, Katy Tang, Scott Wiener, and Norman Yee, have been adamant supporters of Recreation and Parks’ efforts to increase use of city sports and recreation facilities as a means to get more kids outside playing and exercising.
“Through the Playfields public-private partnership, San Francisco has renovated 14 underused and neglected athletic fields in seven parks across our City for our youth and families to play,” said Mayor Lee. “Let’s keep our investment in neighborhood play spaces going. This new ballot measure will support more playgrounds, open space and playfields in our City and continue to invest in our children and families.”
The goal of the ballot measure is to ensure that park projects doubling use of certain types of facilities are allowed to proceed once they are vetted and approved by the appropriate government agencies. San Francisco park projects have a history of being held up by as few as one individual unhappy about a single component of a project. This results in costly financial delays and deprives San Franciscans of their ability to enjoy these facilities.
Specifically, the ballot initiative would allow improvement to the City’s children’s playgrounds, walking trails and athletic fields which have been the subject of a certified Environment Impact Report, and which have been approved by the California Coastal Commission, which could significantly increase the usage of these sites. The Beach Chalet Athletic Fields renovation would meet the criteria.
Since 2000, San Francisco voters have approved three general obligation bonds to repair, renovate and restore nearly 100 local parks, playgrounds, walking trails and sports facilities. These projects have proven to be extremely successful and have increased use at each renovated facility.
Despite this progress, the City still does not have sufficient playgrounds for children, public trails for walking and hiking, or fields for sports and other youth and adult athletics to satisfy the needs of its residents and visitors. Some of San Francisco’s older playgrounds remain in poor condition while the restored playgrounds are overwhelmed with use. Many of San Francisco’s walking trails are hidden by overgrowth or eroded by decades of use. The city still doesn’t have enough athletic fields to meet demand and kids continue to be turned away due to a lack of space to play. In fact, a 2004 study found San Francisco would need to add 35 soccer fields and 30 playfields just to meet demand.
In 2006, the City Fields Foundation and the City of San Francisco established the Playfields Initiative, a public-private partnership to remedy the city’s ongoing athletic field deficit through synthetic turf renovations and light installations. The partnership has renovated fourteen underused and neglected athletic fields in seven parks throughout the City with high-quality synthetic turf, field lights, new fencing and other park amenities. The Playfields Initiative has added more than 76,000 hours of new annual playtime in the park system, allowing for 2,400 more kids to play each year on 200 new teams throughout the city.
Each of the Playfields Initiative field renovations have been supported by the community and approved by regulatory agencies. The Beach Chalet Athletic Fields renovation has been in a multi-year design, review, approval and appeal process featuring seven votes in front of the five different government bodies, including the California Coastal Commission, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, SF Planning Commission, SF Recreation and Park Commission, and the Board of Permit Appeals. Each of these regulatory bodies has voted in favor of the project.
The City’s partnership with City Fields Foundation helps to provide high quality playfields throughout our City. Each full-sized synthetic turf field dramatically increases playtime at the facility and helps the environment by saving approximately 1,500,000 gallons of water each year and eliminating the need for herbicides.