SAN FRANCISCO – Starting Saturday, nothing will stand between families and all-day outdoor fun at Boat Playground—not even the call of nature itself.
The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department will hold a celebration and opening of a free-standing, all-gender restroom at Boat Playground from 3-4 p.m. Saturday. State Senator Scott Wiener and District 4 Supervisor Katy Tang will conduct the ceremonial first flush at the ribbon cutting. Children will receive free sand pails and shovels. Boat Playground is in Golden Gate Park at 45th Avenue and Lincoln Way.
“From the beginning, Boat Playground has been a treasure created by and for the community,” Senator Wiener said. “The idea was born in 1926 and brought to fruition through the organizing and efforts of parents at nearby Francis Scott Key School. Now, the 45th Avenue Neighborhood Association and Supervisor Katy Tang have improved it for the next generation of San Francisco kids. Time and again, this community demonstrates the power of grassroots advocacy and stewardship of our park resources.”
Mayor London Breed also praised the addition of the new restroom.
“Boat Playground is a wonderful location for families and children, but for too long has lacked restroom facilities” said Mayor Breed said. “I want to thank Supervisor Tang and Rec and Park for coming together with the community on this common-sense improvement.”
Tang secured $1.4 million in funding for the $1.9 million project through the city’s general fund after the 45th Avenue Neighborhood Association gathered hundreds of signatures in support. Residents noted there was no public restroom within a 15-minute walk of Boat Playground.
“The new restroom at the Boat Playground means families can stay and play longer,” Tang said. “I want to thank the community members who first brought this need to my attention and who worked for many years with me to secure funding and garner community support for this project. This type of infrastructure is one small step in making this area even more family-friendly.”
The restroom includes new water, electrical and sanitary services; ADA accessible pathways from Lincoln Ave; new landscaping and adjusted irrigation to care for all existing and new planting in the area.
“We’d like to give a huge thank you to Supervisor Katy Tang and the 45th Avenue Neighborhood Association for advocating on behalf of the community to improve this beloved playground,” said SF Park and Rec General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “Supervisor Tang has been a great ally to our park system and has helped secure funding for multiple projects to make the city more livable, and the outdoors more accessible for everyone.”
The restroom is a tangible improvement for Outer Sunset parents and recreation enthusiasts, Neighborhood Association Leader Ginger Tulley said,
“With a restroom in this sweet little playground, all visitors will be able to enjoy it for longer periods, potty training children will have a place to ‘go’ that’s not behind a tree, and the many passing cyclists and runners will be able to stop in and use it,” Tulley said. “We owe a huge thanks to Supervisor Katy Tang for making it a reality. Hundreds of residents supported the effort, and they’re so happy to see it done.”
The Boat Playground is known for the small, flat-bottomed boat, called a dory, parked in the sand. According to Recreation and Park Department’s Historian-in-Residence, Christopher Pollock, this type of boat was used by the U.S. Coast Guard, formerly known as the United States Life-Saving Service. The agency’s station was located at the northwest corner of Golden Gate Park from 1878 until 1951. During this period, the agency used dories to save shipwrecked souls off the coast of Ocean Beach. It is likely the dory at Boat Playground directly came from the station when the agency relocated, Pollock said.