Thursday April 7, 2011
Neighborhood Empowerment Brings Renewed Playground to Outer Richmond
SAN FRANCISCO – San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department (RPD) announced today the renovation of the 1938-built Cabrillo Playground will begin 2012. In partnership with the City’s Neighborhood Empowerment Network (NEN), RPD helped facilitate a series of community meetings last year to gather input from neighbors on what improvements they wanted to see at their neighborhood playground. Together, it was decided that the playground will have an ocean theme, everyone agreed that it was appropriate since the neighborhood is close to the ocean.
In addition to their input on the planned $4.5 million renovation under the 2008 Clean and Safe Neighborhood Park Bond, the neighbors have been active in helping to improve the site in the interim. Charity Bermudez, RPD Cabrillo Playground Gardener, and Steve Elder, Head Gardener of Richmond District worked with Ms. Devi Joseph to create a Dahlia Garden at the playground by removing the awful lawn bordering the playground on 39th Ave. Together, they took out half of the lawn last year and planted dahlias, fenced it and put in drip irrigation. It was spectacular and this year we are going to plant the entire area with dahlias. Now, Cabrillo Playground had received the highest RPD score it ever had last year and the dahlia garden was called “stupendous”.
“City and neighborhood partnership is a powerful thing,” said Phil Ginsburg, RPD General Manager. “Together, we will better our City, one park at a time.”
Truly, this is a neighborhood success story. Many who lived in the neighborhood came out and helped groom the dahlias. They often contacted Ms. Joseph about her upcoming planting project and how they could be part of it. Ms. Joseph was so inspired that she even wrote a story for the American Dahlia Society Bulletin about this wonderful neighborhood collaboration.
Nowadays, neighbors get vases of dahlias when Ms. Joseph deadheads the blooms. Her neighborhood is empowered, and they keep an eye out for each other. “When Golden Gate Park events were going on last summer, we had very little vandalism,” said Ms. Joseph. “Our neighbors keep an eye out for each other.”