Let’sPlaySF! Initiative

Program Status

The Let’sPlaySF! Initiative is a partnership between the Recreation and Park Department and the San Francisco Parks Alliance – seeks to inspire creativity and play throughout the City. In the coming years, 13 playgrounds prioritized for improvement by a citizen task force will be re-imagined and redesigned for this and future generations of San Francisco’s children.

After a robust and successful Task Force, RPD is currently engaged in pre-planning activities for the entire LetsPlaySF! Initiative (formerly Failing Playgrounds program) which includes scheduling, scoping and project delivery strategies. This analysis requires consultation with subject matter experts and cost consultants.

Planning for specific playgrounds has begun for the following:
(If you would like more information, please click on the project you are interested in)
Alice Chalmers Playground
Golden Gate Heights Park
Juri Commons
McLaren Park – Group Picnic and Playground
Merced Heights Playground
Panhandle Playground
Sgt. John Macaulay Park
Washington Square Playground
West Portal Playground

Recent Achievements

Click here for Final Playgrounds Prioritized for Renovation
– Task Force Final Report (click here) prioritized 13 playgrounds in two tiers
– SFPA Community Forum – Click here to view the summary

Program Background

San Francisco parks have over 135 Children’s Play Area’s (Playgrounds) scattered throughout the City, serving a variety of children’s age groups, neighborhoods, and needs. Given the need to narrow-down the number of play areas that could be renovated, a Task Force, including stakeholders from citywide open space organizations, the school district, children’s advocacy and parent organizations, the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Advisory Committee (PROSAC), and child development experts, prioritized playgrounds for renovation. The Recreation and Park Commission appointed the Task Force in April 2014 and adopted their recommendations in December 2014.

The Task Force met seven times and included substantial public participation. After much discussion and analysis, the Task Force unanimously approved a list of 13 playgrounds to be prioritized for renovation, divided into two tiers. The Task Force recommends that all playgrounds containing Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) Pressure-Treated Wood be first prioritized for renovation. The division of such playgrounds into Tiers was based on low Household Median Income (HMI), high Youth Density, and low Parks Alliance Report Card grades.

Panhandle Playground Celebrates Renovation

SAN FRANCISCO – With new equipment to spark imagination, fresh surfaces for jumping and running, and innovative features to explore music and sound, the renovated Panhandle Playground opened amid a community celebration today. Children from Stepping Stones Preschool whooshed down one of the playground’s two new slides alongside District 5 … Continue reading

Alice Chalmers Playground Construction Progress Update

Construction work continues at the Alice Chalmers Playground. Azul Works, Inc. has completed the installation of all site walls, retaining curbs, and the two sloped ADA walkways. Utilities, including drainage and irrigation lines have been installed below the sub-grade and will support irrigation of the new landscaping on the site.Two … Continue reading

Task Force Meeting #1 (Agenda)

Meeting 1 Presentation

Proposed Task Force Workplan by Meeting

Failing Playground Task Force Goals

RPD Park Maintenance Standards PES4 Evaluation Form – Children Play Areas

City and County of San Francisco Controller's City Survey Report - Parks and Recreation Chapter

2014 Playground Assessment Tool (SF Parks Alliance)

2014 Playground Reassessment Report (SF Parks Alliance)

2012 Playground Report Card (SF Parks Alliance)

Failing Playgrounds Task Force Meeting #1 Notes

Task Force Meeting #2 (Agenda)

Task Force Meeting Schedule

Anatomy of a Playground

Work Orders related to surveyed Children's Play Areas (Playgrounds)

- Failing Playgrounds Task Force Meeting 2 Notes

Task Force Meeting #3 (Agenda)

- Proposed Tiering of Priority Playground Projects

Map #1 All Playgrounds (Childrens' Play Areas) Citywide

- Map #2 Recently Renovated Playgrounds (Childrens' Play Areas)

- Map #3 Potential Playgrounds (Children's Play Areas) for Future Renovations

- Failing Playgrounds Task Force Meeting 3 Notes

Task Force Meeting #4 (Agenda)

- Tableau Failing Playgrounds Maps and Analysis - Bit.ly/failingplaygroundsmeeting4

- Failing Playgrounds Task Force Meeting 4 Notes

Task Force Meeting #5 (Agenda)

- DRAFT Proposed Alternatives Presented at Meeting 5

- Playground Profiles Presented at Meeting 5

- Maps Presented at Meeting 5

- Failing Playgrounds Task Force Meeting 5 Notes


- Failing Playgrounds Task Force Meeting 6 Notes
- Meeting 6 Final Presentation
- DRAFT Map of Final Playgrounds
- DRAFT Final Playgrounds List
- Combined updated Playgrounds Profile List


-Task Force Meeting 7 Notes

San Francisco parks have over 170 children’s play areas (playgrounds), scattered throughout the city, serving a variety of children’s age groups, neighborhoods, and needs. The $15.5 million Failing Playgrounds Program will focus on renovating, replacing, and remediating dilapidated playgrounds throughout the City. Playgrounds (Children's Play Areas) will be selected for funding by a Task Force co-hosted with the San Francisco Parks Alliance.

The Task Force, which was appointed by the Recreation and Park Commission on April 17, 2014, includes a Rec Park Commissioner, leaders from children’s advocacy and parent organizations, children and family service organizations, and citywide open space organizations along with volunteers from the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Advisory Committee (PROSAC) and RPD’s GreenAgers program.

The Task Force was challenged to identify criteria for Failing Playgrounds and apply it to playgrounds throughout the city. The Task Force made recommendations to the Recreation and Park Commission on playgrounds to prioritize for future renovations. Criteria that the Task Force considered included the following:

  • 2010 Census Data
  • Physical condition of the sites
  • Presence of Pressure treated lumber
  • Analysis of disabled access
  • San Francisco Unified School District playground locations
  • Controller's Office Proposition C evaluation data
  • Evaluation of open space and playground deficient neighborhoods
  • Parks Alliance Playground Report Card

The Task Force started in the end of April and will continue through the beginning of summer 2015. The public was able to attend each meeting and participate through public comment. The Recreation and Parks Commission, informed by these recommendations, selected projects for funding.

The full Bond Report can be found here.

Katie Albright
Executive Director
San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center

Julia Brashares
Director of Street Parks
SF Parks Alliance

Chelsea Boilard
Director of Programs
Coleman Advocates

Alejandra Chiesa
Project Manager - Parks for People
Trust for Public Land

Rob Connolly
Boys & Girls Club of San Francisco

Anthony Cuadro
D7 Representative

Dawn Kamalanathan
Director of Planning & Capital Management
SF Recreation & Park Department

Eric McDonnell
Recreation and Parks Commission

Doreen Pacini
Youth Representative

Albert Ko
Executive Vice President
SF Parent Teacher Association

Michelle Parker
VP Communications
SF Parent Teacher Association

Mario Paz
Executive Director
Good Samaritan Family Resource Center

Mark Scheuer
D8 Representative

Lee Anne Weldon
Council Member, Policy Council
SF Parks Alliance