SFSU: How the Community Plays – Parkside Square and Bob Cheney Field

Parkside Square

Parkside Square & Bob Cheney Field lies in the Outer Sunset, tucked between Wawona and Vicente on 26th. The space of the park is wide and spread out. A large grassy area lies at the center of the park which includes a baseball field and has trees along the side slope to allow nice shade for those who need a break from the sun. In the far back right, there is a large fenced off playground with jungle gyms, slides, and swings for kids and their parents to play in. Another asset to the park are the tennis courts, which are on the opposite end on the corner near the restrooms and right by the basketball courts.

Most of the people in this park were young families or groups of people. Many people were doing activities, not many were sitting idly or relaxing on park benches. Most were playing games with their children, sports teams were practicing for the upcoming games, and walking around the park. There were tons of little kids playing on the jungle sets, and they were of all ages. It was encouraging to see the large number of grandparents and parents interacting with their young ones, not just sitting around watching them from afar, which tends to happen at jungle gyms in other places. Kids should be taught and encouraged, while they are young, the importance of active lifestyles and appreciating the outdoors. This park provides those kinds of opportunities for families to set their lives up for success while building a community with their neighbors. Peggy, who has been living in the Sunset for the past fifty years comes to the park quite often. She moved from Ireland and lives only three blocks away. “This is my favorite park in the Sunset. I’ve been coming here with my daughters and now bring my grandkids,” she said.

One thing she loves about the park is how “it is easily accessible to the neighborhood and provides a safe environment for the public to gather.” The diversity of the park is large, there were many ethnic groups that were present, including Asian, Caucasian, African American, and Latino. A majority of the people present were young kids and their adult figures, but there were also a handful of elderly walking through the park and enjoying it through strolling or walking their dogs. The fact that all these different groups are coming together in this similar environment and interacting together proves that it is a healthy park where people do feel comfortable and safe which is exactly what a community is built to do.

An improvement this park could use from the department is a place where dogs can play unleashed. There was one small area by the woods of Stern Grove where dogs were running and playing catch with their owners, but it was a very small space. Peggy mentioned that “it would be helpful for owners to have a designated area for their dogs to play without worrying about them running away or scaring children.” She walks her dog in the park, and mentioned instances where she would have liked to unleash her dog in a larger area and meet other pups on sunny days but not interrupt any of the activities taking place (i.e. sport teams or practices).

Another asset that this park could improve on would be placing more seating. As of right now, there are four benches that outline the sides of the park and bleachers on one side of the baseball cage. For the elderly, it is harder for them to enjoy the green grass and nature while resting on the benches because all the seating is on concrete and away from the activities.

Lastly, the park could improve on the plant diversity. There is plenty of open space and soil to improve the plant life of the park and help it flourish even more so. Big trees surround the park and some pine sit on the hill side, but the area near the tennis courts is dull and could use some sprucing up. Overall, the experience this park provides for its visitors is great. Those who visit the park leave happy and refreshed, with a strong sense of community in their minds. This park provides its users with many benefits to get outside of the house and remove themselves from the stress of the day, but still stay relatively close, or to just enjoy a small part of San Francisco. The layout of the park gives a large amount of space for activities of all sorts, and also has a nice aesthetic to sit and enjoy the scenery in the usual fog and cold of the Outer Sunset.