San Francisco – The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, in partnership with The Trust for Public Land, hosted a grand re-opening of Boeddeker Park after its recent $9.3 million renovation. The celebration included activities and live entertainment followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony.
“A new and revitalized Boeddeker Park is an important community asset not just for families in the Tenderloin but from Central Market and beyond,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “I applaud this innovative public-private partnership that will help us provide a safe, clean space for our seniors, children, families and residents to get out and play and build stronger communities.”
A nearly 1-acre park in the heart of San Francisco’s Tenderloin, Boeddeker Park is the largest park in the neighborhood, a neighborhood that has the highest percentage of households living below the poverty line, is one of the densest districts in San Francisco, has limited open space. Opened in 1985, the park is named for beloved local pastor Father Alfred Boeddeker.
“The reconstruction of Boeddeker Park, Tenderloin’s only major multi-use park, was one of my top priorities my first term,” said District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim. “Boeddeker Park is at the heart of the Tenderloin, a community known for its density, diversity and collaboration. Poorly designed, the park and clubhouse fell into disuse despite the number of families and seniors in need of recreation space. This is the City’s first hybrid city & community programming model. Everything from the design to programming has been community-led, and I am extremely proud to see this be a model for the rest of the City.”
Since 2007, The Trust for Public Lan has worked with SF Rec and Park and the Tenderloin community to create a new Boeddeker. The renovation includes significant improvements to Park, including a new 4,300 square foot Clubhouse with green building features and greater visibility into the Park; play areas for school age children and toddlers; regulation-size full court high school basketball court; adult fitness area with outdoor exercise equipment; perimeter walking path; stage and performance area; and outdoor plazas for informal gathering and programs such as Tai Chi.
The total of $9.3 million renovation began construction in November 2012, and it was made possible with more than $4.93 million of generous grant support from the California Department of Parks and Recreation, more than $3.3 million of private contribution from corporate business donors, and funds from The Trust of Public Land, as well as more than $1.7 million of City’s general fund, open space fund, and Parks Bond.
“We have worked tirelessly, along with The Trust for Public Land, and the Tenderloin community, to plan and design a new Boeddeker Park that meets the unique needs of this diverse neighborhood,” said, Phil Ginsburg, SF Rec and Park General Manager. “With the support from the California Department of Parks and Recreation, and our programming partners, Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCA and Safe passage, we were able to turn our vision into a reality.”
Boeddeker Park is the culmination of an initiative that started in 2008 with $5 million gift from five major private corporate donors, Banana Republic, Levi Strauss Foundation, McKesson, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, and Wells Fargo. The Trust for Public Land and San Francisco Rec and Park leveraged that initial donation into a $16.5 million dollar program including State, City and private funds to deliver three new parks to San Francisco including Hayes Valley Playground and Balboa Park which renovations completed in recent years.
“Boeddeker Park will be an anchor for the community, bringing together 50,000 people who live within a 10-minute walk to the park. What a great space to build community, get fit, and engage in fun activities! The Trust for Public Land works with cities across the country to make these parks a reality. We are honored to support the Tenderloin community,” said Gina Fromer, California Director of The Trust for Public Land.
Beginning in December, Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco (BGCSF), Shih-Yu-Lang Central YMCA, Tenderloin Safe Passage and The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department will each offer programs at the Boeddeker Clubhouse. In addition, the Clubhouse will be available on weekends for free birthday party rentals.
“The Y has been serving the youth, families and seniors in the Tenderloin community for over 100 years and we are thrilled to be part of a first of its kind partnership with Boys & Girls Club and Tenderloin Safe Passage. The re-activation of Boeddeker Park marks the success of a powerful community partnership and we look forward to providing access to all residents of the Tenderloin to healthy programs and services,” Chuck Collins, President and CEO, YMCA of San Francisco
“We’ve been serving the Tenderloin Community for nearly two decades, and are honored to be an integral part of the re-opening of Boedekker, “said Rob Connolly, President, Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco. “The Park’s transformation is a critical step in making the community a safer, healthier and more liveable place for kids and families.”
Dina Hillard, Tenderloin Safe Passage Executive Director, agreed that, “Boeddeker Park is a game changer for the neighborhood. With strong positive engagement and activities, we will establish a culture of safety there that can potentially spread to the entire neighborhood.”
“This park renovation project has been years in the making, represents a ‘promise kept’, and new beginning for the Tenderloin community. It is built largely with the community’s input with safety inclusions as a top priority,” said Mike Williams, a Tenderloin neighborhood resident. “My hope is people of all ages will come out to play, refresh, and enjoy their new park for years to come. It has been my honor and pleasure to be part of this wonderful project.”
Boeddeker Park now features four custom fence panels created by San Francisco artist Amy Blackstone. The theme of the panel design is a field of grasses and wild flowers. They were commissioned for the park by the San Francisco Arts Commission as part of the city’s art enrichment program, which requires 2% of the construction budget of any city capital improvement project be allocated to art enrichment.
In addition to commissioning new artwork, art enrichment funds can also be used for conservation of existing artworks in the city’s collection. The Boeddeker Park renovation provided an excellent opportunity for the San Francisco Arts Commission to restore three artworks that were originally commissioned when the park and the recreation center were first built in the mid-1980s. The conserved artworks include a cast reinforced concrete bas-relief panel by Ruth Asawa and two bronze sculptures by Bruce Hasson and Anthony Smith. These artworks were relocated within the park to better integrate with the new design and underwent conservation treatments to restore their finishes and repair any damage that may have occurred over the years.
“It’s wonderful to see these works of art, which are deeply rooted in the Tenderloin community, restored to their original splendor,” said Director of Cultural Affairs Tom DeCaigny. “The Arts Commission is happy to have played a part in preserving this important part of the park’s history.”