SAN FRANCISCO – A plan to revitalize a network of waterfront open space in the city’s southeast by rehabilitating and uniting several poorly conditioned existing open spaces into a single, seamless design received approval by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors today.
Supervisors voted to certify the environmental impact report for the India Basin waterfront project, which will combine 900 Innes Ave, a long-vacant bayside lot the City acquired in 2014, with two existing parks that border it: India Basin Shoreline Park and India Basin Shoreline Open Space, both of which would undergo significant improvements. The resulting 8-acre waterfront park would connect the Bay Trail and provide open spaces, trails and unrivaled recreational opportunities for residents. The plan is a collaboration between the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, Build Inc, the Trust for Public Land, the San Francisco Parks Alliance, Parks 94124, the A. Phillip Randolph Institute, Young Community Developers, the India Basin Neighborhood Association and many other neighborhood and park serving organizations.
“India Basin will transform an abandoned industrial site into an important community space that will serve Bayview residents and visitors from across the Bay Area,” said Mayor London N. Breed. “I want to thank Rec & Parks, the numerous community organizations, and Bayview residents for their hard work to make this plan a reality.”
Supervisor Malia Cohen, who represents the area, stressed the urgency and importance of the project.
“The India Basin Park, which has the best views in the City, is the long overdue crown jewel of San Francisco’s waterfront park system,” Cohen said. “The Bayview-Hunters Point and India Basin community will finally gain much-deserved space for active recreation, to take a stroll, or to have a family barbecue. I’m proud to see this project move forward, benefiting our D10 community and the City as a whole.”
San Francisco Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg envisions the completed India Basin project as “one of the most important park projects in modern San Francisco history.”
“India Basin provides an incredible opportunity to transform an industrial segment of the southern waterfront that has long been neglected into a beautiful network of parks that will be a source of health and recreation, economic and workforce development, environmental stewardship and joy for Bayview and India Basin neighborhood residents. Equity and public access have been the driving force behind every detail of this plan,” Ginsburg said.
Today’s approval represents an important step in realizing the comprehensive plan.
“Bayview-Hunters Point and India Basin residents deserve access to a beautiful and clean shoreline park that reflects their values and provides more opportunities to play, be healthy and connect to nature and each other. There is still a long road ahead to make this vision a reality and this a significant milestone in the process,” said Alejandra Chiesa, Bay Area program director for The Trust for Public Land.
More than 30 Bayview community stakeholders, regional organizations and local property owners guided the programming and design process. The plan will connect the residents of public housing, now isolated on the hills, with the coastline. Vendors will offer healthy food choices historically lacking in the neighborhood. The Shop, a remnant of the site’s long-ago life as a boatyard, will nurture the next generation of makers through boat building workshops and other creative and life skills classes.
“The Parks Alliance has long advocated for creating much needed open space for southeast residents. We look forward to continue working with the surrounding communities, city and property owners to ensure these parks and open spaces reflect the needs of the local residents and are an extension of the surrounding neighborhoods,” said San Francisco Parks Alliance CEO Drew Becher.
Neighborhood advocates also cheered Tuesday’s development.
Maya Rodgers, co-founder of Parks 94124, a non-profit organization that advocates for open space and recreation in Bayview-Hunters Point, called the India Basin project “an example of demonstrated commitment and collaboration in a tenuous economic climate.”
“The juxtaposition of open space and urban space is innovative and exciting,” Rodgers said. “The Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood needs more open space, the sheer density of the area requires it. The India Basin project has the potential to create opportunities for positive exposure to and of this neighborhood amidst a long history of marginalization and inequity.”
It was a sentiment shared by Jacqueline Flin, executive director of the A. Phillip Randolph Institute San Francisco.
“The India Basin Project brings much needed beautification and public assets to the historically neglected southeast shoreline,” Flin said. “Bayview is vastly diverse and eclectic. This project is designed with families that currently live in Bayview. In addition to protecting and restoring our natural shoreline, future generations of families will continue to benefit with gorgeous open space for our City’s youth to play, grow, and thrive.”
The 5.6-acre India Basin Shoreline Park, which is currently used by local residents, will be redesigned to better serve the community, including the installation of enhanced playground and recreational facilities, biking and walking paths.
Remediation and grading of the site is $11.5 million, $5 million of which will be covered by Measure AA funds. Funding has also been provided by the California Coastal Conservancy, EPA grants, the Trust for Public Lands, Build Inc, San Francisco Parks Alliance, and the city’s Open Space Acquisition Fund and General Fund.
SF Rec & Parks is also partnering with Hunters Point Family, which provides employment opportunities for low income African American residents of the Bayview-Hunters Point community. Through an EPA Brownfield Cleanup Grant, Hunters Point Family has already trained more than 60 students in environmental remediation and intends to place at least 80 percent of graduates in environmental remediation jobs, many of which will be at 900 Innes.
“We are very excited to engage in the work of restoring the community through restoring and healing the land alongside our partners at the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department,” said Hunters Point Family Executive Director and Founder Lena Miller. “We are providing career pathways for some of our community’s residents who have been most impacted by environmental pollution, thereby becoming the change we wish to see in the world.”
The Port of San Francisco, along with the City’s Planning Department, Office of Economic and Workforce Development and Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure also played vital roles in the India Basin Project.