21st century irrigation upgrades will save 2.5 million gallons of water annually
SAN FRANCSICO – The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department announced today the reopening of the historic Alamo Square after its recent $5.3 million Renovation. The celebration kicked off with a ribbon cutting ceremony, followed by fun activities including Zumba, hula hooping, instant photos, and face painting. The Lady Falcon Coffee Cart was on site.
“Investing in San Francisco’s future means investing in our city’s infrastructure, including our parks,” said Mayor Lee. “Projects like the Alamo Square renovation help ensure that our landmarks are maintained and receive the improvements they need. Thanks to the collaboration of our city agencies and the support of neighbors, Alamo Square will be a sustainable and welcoming place for years to come.”
Alamo Square Park is at the core of the Alamo Square Historic District located in the Western Addition at Hayes and Steiner Streets, and across from the beloved Painted Ladies. The majority of this 12.7-acre park is landscape, including broad expanses of lawn. The existing irrigation system was more than 30 years-old and the quick coupler line was more than 70 years-old. Both were corroded and frequently leaking. Additionally, inadequate water pressure contributed to large quantities of water being used to irrigate the park.
“I am so pleased the day is finally here to reopen Alamo Square Park. Overlooking San Francisco’s Painted Ladies, it is truly one of the jewels of our City,” said Board President London Breed, whose district includes Alamo Square. “I’d like to thank the Alamo Square Neighborhood Association for not only leading this process but for raising the money to replace a number of trees. We now have this beautiful park that will be environmentally sound with a new irrigation system and new bathrooms to welcome residents and visitors from all over the world.”
The renovation included a new all-gender restroom, and upgrades to the aging irrigation system and park landscape as well as repaving of the pathways at Alamo Square. Funded through a $1.6 million grant from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Citywide Water Conservation Program, and 2008 and 2012 Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bonds, the project sought to reduce Alamo Square’s overall water use by 33% annually, through a combination of a modern water efficient irrigation system and the introduction of drought tolerant landscaping within targeted areas of the park.
“Year after year we have worked to reduce our water usage throughout the park system; our efforts have successfully reduced water usage by 43%,” said Phil Ginsburg, SF Rec and Park General Manager. “The Alamo Square renovation continues those efforts and will save over 2.5 million gallons of water annually.”
Michael Carlin, Deputy General Manager of the SFPUC reminded us all that: “Whether you’re a large public park or backyard garden, the improvements to Alamo Square represent landscape irrigation practices that we encourage all customers to make in their own landscapes to help save our valuable drinking water, now and for generations to come.”
“Alamo Square offers visitors an iconic San Francisco experience,” said Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru, whose department provided design and construction management services. “The upgrades make this open space gem more environmentally sustainable, beautiful and accessible for all users.”
In addition, in the coming months, with the generous donation from Alamo Square Neighborhood Association (ASNA), the Recreation and Park Department will also be planting 45 new trees throughout the Park.
“We are definitely excited to be a part of this historic event,” said Gus Hernandez, ASNA President. “Alamo Square is a world-famous park, and it’s great that the city had the funds to complete this much-needed renovation.”
Since 2013, SF Rec and Park has been actively upgrading its irrigation systems with the support from SFPUC funding — this includes Alamo Square Park, Alta Plaza, Jefferson Square, and Balboa Park. The Department has also made design changes to parks that include bioswales, water retention, climate-based controls, and the use of native and drought-tolerant plants, no-mow grass, and permeable paving. Some examples include Boeddeker Park, Dolores Park, Cayuga Playground, Hayes Valley Playground, and 17th and Folsom (expected to open in June). In addition, SF Rec and Park has made improvements through green building design such as using natural light and recycled materials. Betty Ann Ong Chinese Rec Center (LEED Gold), Sunset Rec, Palega Rec (LEED Gold), Glen Canyon Rec, Balboa Pool also added to the Department’s goals for sustainability.