SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department announced today the reopening of the playfields at West Sunset Playground after $13.6 million renovation funded by the 2012 Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond. West Sunset Playground, 18 acres in size, features a children’s playground, athletic courts, two baseball fields, one softball field, four soccer fields, two formal bleacher stadium structures, and a parking lot. The Playground also has a clubhouse immediately next to the Ortega Branch Library. The Playground is located in the Outer Sunset neighborhood, between 39th and 41st Avenues, and Ortega and Ouintara streets. It is popular and beloved by the children, youth and families in the neighborhood as it is situated between three schools, Sunset Elementary School, A.P. Giannini Middle School, and Saint Ignatius High School. The playfields at West Sunset Playground are heavily used by athletic programs citywide.
“We are thrilled that home runs, bicycle kicks and base hits will be back at the West Sunset Playground,” said Mayor Edwin M. Lee. “As a central location for numerous schools and local families, this playground provides an accessible place for our young athletes to take part in safe, healthy and fun activities. Parks and open spaces are the cornerstones of San Francisco communities, and we are proud to invest in projects that improve and upgrade them for our residents.”
“The West Sunset playfields are such an asset to our community, being surrounded on all sides by schools, a library, and a playground,” said District 4 Supervisor Katy Tang whose district includes West Sunset Playground. “This investment in their renovation means that many generations of children and families will enjoy clean, safe, and accessible playfields right in their own backyard.”
The $13.6 million playfield renovation included overall site accessibility improvements to the perimeter and pathways of the Park that involved replacement of the sidewalk, fencing, and retaining wall to meet current American Disability Act (ADA) standards. The renovation also included new sod for the playfields; upgrades to the irrigation system and the field and court lighting; new bleacher seating; and new bleachers storage to provide additional storage, restrooms and administrative space for field management. All improvements to park features have remained in their previous locations and configurations.
“West Sunset Playground represents what we sought to accomplish with our parks bonds: to make our parks clean and safe for everyone to enjoy,” said Phil Ginsburg, San Francisco Recreation and Park Department’s General Manager. “With input from neighbors and contributions from our city partners, we have rejuvenated a community space that has served three schools, local families, and citywide athletic clubs for 60 years. We look forward to having everyone get out and play!”
In September 2015, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, a joint initiative of Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players, awarded the Department a $40,000 grant to support the West Sunset playfield renovation. The grant funds supported construction of two batting cages for the baseball diamonds. The addition of batting cages will increase usage by allowing kids to practice their swing while others are developing skills on the field. The San Francisco Giants, the City’s professional baseball team, supported the Department’s effort during the grant application process.
“On behalf of Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association, we are pleased to support the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department and its efforts to provide opportunities for kids to learn the game in safe, accessible facilities,” said Cathy Bradley, executive director of the Baseball Tomorrow Fund. “We hope that the community’s youth baseball and softball programs take full advantage of this top-quality complex at West Sunset Playground.”
West Sunset Playground was built in 1957 with various minor renovations completed in the early 1970’s and mid 1980’s. Most recently, in 2011, the Recreation and Park Department in partnership with the San Francisco Public Library and Public Works, renovated West Sunset children’s playground and the Ortega Branch Library. A small single room clubhouse located between the playground and the library, is currently leased to the Sunset Neighborhood Beacon Center where they provide programs to support healthy development of children and youth in the Sunset District.
“Having a library and playground next to each other creates a great community gathering place,” said Luis Herrera, City Librarian who oversees the City’s public library system including Ortega Branch Library. “With the improvements to the playfields, even more families will be able to learn, play and have fun together in the Sunset.”
“Whether you’re playing on the fields or sitting in the bleachers to watch a game, the experience will be much better all-around with these upgrades,” said San Francisco Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru, whose team provided construction management and design services for the project. “Thanks to the generosity of San Francisco voters, we’re seeing improvements to our parks, playgrounds and rec centers across the City, with the Sunset now the most recent beneficiary.”
Please see link for opening event photos and video courtesy of SF Rec and Park Department: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/co5ld5v4gi3mvev/AABfdZ03Pdx7SHHUAa6riGvVa?dl=0