SAN FRANCISCO – City leaders and community members today celebrated the opening of side-by-side environmental features at McLaren Park: A renovated oasis for community gardeners and a new rain garden system to manage stormwater.
The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department’s McLaren Community Garden re-opened with additional plots to accommodate four times the number of gardeners. The renovated site, at the west end of Leland Avenue, also features a new greenhouse, gazebo, and plaza area. Decorative panels created by Recology artist-in-residence Jim Growden adorn the pedestrian gates. The 20,0000 square foot site also boasts an additional composting system, new trellis and secure storage.
Located just north of the community gardens, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has constructed new rain gardens as part of the Visitacion Valley Green Nodes Project. The project develops two distinct green infrastructure locations at Sunnydale Avenue and McLaren Park that improves community spaces and accessibility while helping manage stormwater. The terraced rain gardens in McLaren Park will manage 600,000 gallons of stormwater each year from approximately 1.5 acres of impervious surface and provide a pedestrian connection to McLaren Park from Leland Avenue.
“I am thrilled to see the community and environmental improvement projects at McLaren Park,” said Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco). “We are lucky this year to have gotten so much rain, but that’s not always the case. The new rain garden will help us to reuse hundreds of thousands of gallons of rainwater each year. We need more projects like these that bring benefits to local communities while helping advance our broader environmental goals.”
The renovation of McLaren Community Garden was funded through a combination of Community Opportunity Fund award, SF Rec and Parks capital budget, monies allocated by former Supervisor Malia Cohen, and the 2012 Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond.
“Protecting and maintaining the pockets of green spaces in the Southeast part of the City like this gem, is important for us as a community,” said Cohen, now chair of the state Board of Equalization. “My hope is that we continue to invest in the urban farming opportunities gardens like this offer for residents.”
Both projects are a boon for surrounding neighborhoods, said District 10 Supervisor Shamann Walton.
“Both the community garden and the rain garden are exciting. Being able to reuse water is important for conservation and more plots for more gardeners means more San Franciscans connecting to the environment,” Walton said.
“The SFPUC is building projects like these across the City to work toward our goal of capturing one billion gallons of stormwater a year using green infrastructure by 2050,” said SFPUC General Manager Harlan L. Kelly, Jr. “This green infrastructure project reduces excess stormwater to our sewer system while improving pedestrian connections to McLaren Park. We are proud to partner with RPD on this innovative project.”
Building on its history of serving the senior population, the upper terrace of the renovated McLaren Community Garden is fully ADA accessible. It also includes an educational space for the local Boys and Girls Club as well as neighborhood youth.
“The McLaren Community Garden has long been an anchor of the Visatacion Valley neighborhood,” said San Francisco Recreation and Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “We are so excited for the community to enjoy these improvements—one in many upgrades we have planned for McLaren Park.”
Other planned projects include the installation of a ropes course, improvements to sport courts and the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater and the renovation of Herz Playground, trails and pathways.
Following Saturday’s ribbon cuttings, community members enjoyed gardening activities, yoga, and tours.