After nearly a year of environmental review, the community members attending the Mission Dolores Park Rehabilitation Project Open House were happy to see the design is moving forward with few changes. They also pointed out that the next challenge is publicizing and managing the construction process to minimize disruption of park life and false rumors of park closures.
The project team called the February 6th Open House at the Dolores Park Church once all the design changes had been included in the rehabilitation plan. The 75 community members who attended were happy to see that only three noticeable changes had been made to their plan and even those could be seen as refinements following the spirit of the design that was developed and reviewed during the Design Workshops in 2011:
- The South Restroom was moved closer to the Helen Diller Playground to further improve accessibility. It remains hidden under the hillside.
- The Park Maintenance Building entrance was moved west toward Church St. to further minimize the impact of the new building, placing the visible portions closer to the corner of 18th and Church Streets that already houses other infrastructure, including the MUNI stop.
- The treatment of the historic MUNI stop under the 19th St. Bridge was refined to even more carefully balance preservation while discouraging misuse of the space. Now rather than bury the station and the steps, the area will be covered by planter boxes, so it can’t be misused, but the historic structure can still be seen.
(Below we have attached all the plans and information shared at the open house if you would like more detail.)
The lack of significant changes after a year of Planning Department Review is a testament to the thoughtfulness and balance of the community’s rehabilitation plan. It is also a testament to the work of the project team, who spent the year balancing the proposal’s potential impact on the existing park with the need to honor the Community’s desires for much needed park improvements. The team successfully explained that changing any part of the plan impacted that balance, so only essential changes should be made—and those changes should be guided by the community’s intent.
The one concern repeated by many open house attendees was the sensitivity of planning and publicizing construction. Most agreed that the current two phase construction plan was the best alternative because it is simple and shortens the length of the construction period by 4-6 months. Under the two phase plan, the project will take place in two six month stages beginning in March 2014. In the first six months, the portion of the park south of the promenade will be rehabilitated and all the buildings in project will begin construction. In the second stage, beginning October 2014, the northern half of the park will be rehabilitated and the buildings will be completed. The new playground will remain open throughout construction. Other phasing alternatives had considered more phases to keep more of the park open at any one time, but the result was a longer and more expensive project. Community members agreed that getting the project done quickly, while always having half of the park open, was the right plan.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
If you have any questions about the project or the open house, please contact the project manager, Jake Gilchrist, at 415-581-2561 Jacob.Gilchrist@sfgov.org