SF Rec and Park Breaks Ground on Mission Dolores Park Improvement
SAN FRANCISCO – San Francisco Recreation and Park Department hosted a groundbreaking ceremony which marked the beginning of the Mission Dolores Park Improvement construction on Saturday, March 1st. Among the attendees were District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, SF Rec and Park Commissioner Gloria Bonilla, Robert Brust, founder of Dolores Park Works, Sam Mogannam, owner of Bi-Rite Market, park volunteers, advocates and residents. In addition, the event also included the SF Rec and Park and Dolores Park Works volunteers clean-up and the launch of Respect Your Park campaign
“Dolores Park is one of our civic treasures, and it’s no wonder that it’s among our most popular parks,” said District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener. “Hundreds of community members participated in the park design process, and the result will be a renewed park that’s even more usable by our entire community.”
“For nearly a century San Franciscans have enjoyed diverse recreational activities at Mission Dolores Par,” said Phil Ginsburg, SF Rec and Park General Manager. “In 2008, thanks to more than 71% of the San Francisco voters who approved the $185 million of Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond, now the Department has the funding to provide the much-needed infrastructure improvement for a park that has been loved to death.”
The Mission Dolores Park Improvement design plan was driven by a community planning process that engaged all the existing park steward groups as project leaders through a project steering committee. There was a series of 13 Steering Committee meetings and public workshops, and an additional of 30-40 informal subcommittee meetings to prepare material and propose design solutions.
“The community planning process was an extraordinary experience. It allowed us to truly participate in the co-design of the renovation. The community, Rec and Park and the architects together are responsible for this renovation,” said Robert Brust, Founder of Dolores Park Works. “Because of this collaborative process we now have a brave and balanced plan and just as importantly we have given the community a sense of empowerment.”
“As a member of the Steering Committee, I was involved with the planning process from day one. I applaud the City’s exemplary job crafting a plan we are all proud of. Bi-Rite has coordinated many post-event volunteer cleanups at the Park, so we know first-hand how necessary renovations are to its preservation,” said Sam Mogannam, Founder of Bi-Rite Family Businesses. “This year is the 50th anniversary of my family owning Bi-Rite Market; I have seen the evolution of Dolores Park since playing here as a child in the 1970s. I am excited for the work to begin so we can continue the Park’s legacy as a neighborhood gathering place for another 50 years.”
The construction will focus on improvements to park facilities, sports areas, and the general infrastructure. The improvement includes the repair and renovation of the courts, field, and play area; restoration of existing roads and pathways; upgrades to subsurface infrastructure, irrigation and lighting, modifications to the site to remove barriers and improve accessibility; overall reconditioning of the park landscape. In addition, building changes include removing the existing restroom building and the two storage containers as well as the construction of three new buildings.
The construction will begin March 2014, and an expected reopening of Mission Dolores Park for Spring 2015. The construction will include partial closure of the Park at each phase of the construction.
Mission Dolores Park’s heavy usage has resulted in the park being “loved to death” by its community. Evidence of this can be found everywhere in the park: trampled plants, constant littering, compacted soil, overused restrooms, inadequate drainage infrastructure, and obsolete irrigation. There are more than 3,700 park users visiting Mission Dolores Park on a typical Saturday.