SF Rec and Park unveils its newest playground, created for a changing neighborhood
Contact: Sarah Ballard
SAN FRANCISCO– Today, the Zynga.org Foundation, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, the Friends of the Waterfront Playground, and San Francisco Parks Alliance celebrated the grand opening of the new Sue Bierman Park Playground, located on The Embarcadero across from the Ferry Building. Mark Pincus, Founder and Chairman of the Board at Zynga, joined State Senator Mark Leno, Board President David Chiu and neighborhood leaders for a ribbon cutting ceremony and community play day.
“San Francisco is a city that knows how to get things done, and today’s grand opening of the Sue Bierman Playground appropriately pays tribute to her can-do spirit,” said Senator Mark Leno, D- San Francisco. “I applaud the engaged community members, corporate philanthropists and dedicated public servants who joined together to make this project a reality. Sue would be pleased.”
“The installation of the waterfront playground at Sue Bierman Park marks an exciting promise for our City to foster greater community connections for San Francisco families,” said Mayor Edwin Lee. “This new state-of-the-art playground started from a community led partnership with some innovative and sustainable ideas and a shared commitment to investing in our City’s parks for all our residents to enjoy for generations to come.”
San Francisco’s newest playground became a reality through collaboration between the City, the community and the private sector. Recognizing the changing demographics and increased density, neighborhood leaders Ranee Lan, Bill Sauro and Adhamina Rodriguez partnered with the City to raise funds for the project.
“This playground is an example of what we can accomplish when we all work together,” said Supervisor David Chiu. “Community members, local businesses and government have each had a hand in delivering this family-friendly public space.”
With significant support from Zynga.org and $200,000 in Community Opportunity Funds from the Recreation and Park Department, nearly $900,000 was raised. Other major funders included The Bay Club, Salesforce.com Foundation, and Autodesk. ROMA Design Group and TECTONICS Architects provided pro bono design services.
“Our mission at Zynga is to connect the world through games because we know play can be a force of social good — especially right here in our own backyard. We live and work in San Francisco, so this playground is a true passion project for the Zynga team. We’re proud to partner with the city to bring this playground to life for thousands of families, and give children more opportunities to discover, learn and interact in the city we all love,” said Mark Pincus, Founder and Chairman of the Board, Zynga.
Ken Weber, Executive Director, Zynga.org, said, “This playground is a great example of what tech companies that call San Francisco home can do to help make this great city more livable and fun. We are proud to work with Mayor Lee, Supervisor Chiu, San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department, San Francisco Parks Alliance and Friends of the Waterfront Playground to increase the amount of new play space available to children and families.”
“This project has created an exciting partnership between local agencies and businesses within the tech industry,” said Phil Ginsburg, General Manager of San Francisco Recreation and Park Department. “We are grateful to Zynga.org and the Friends of the Waterfront Playground for partnering with us to create this incredible playground for all who live in, work in or visit San Francisco.”
The Northeast Embarcadero and Financial Districts are currently home to over 12,000 residents, including 1,000 children. The area attracts over 200,000 commuters daily. Playground construction began in April 2013.
“The new playground shows how an energetic community group can raise resources for a neighborhood park that serves their needs,” said Matt O’Grady, Executive Director of the San Francisco Parks Alliance. “This incredible gift from the community to the City will benefit so many children who live nearby or are visiting the waterfront. The Parks Alliance is privileged to enable the Friends group to construct this playground and thanks the generous community members and corporations who made it possible.”
The playground includes state-of-the-art, ADA-compliant structures designed specifically for children ranging in age from toddler (2-5 years) to elementary (5-12 years). New landscape has also been installed to complement the surrounding park area.
“Three generations of my family live in the neighborhood, and when my first child was born five years ago, I realized what a prohibitively long walk it was to the nearest playground, especially for a toddler and a 70 year-old grandma,” said Ranee Lan, mother of two and managing member of the Friends of the Waterfront Playground. “Now there is somewhere in our neighborhood for children to play and for families to connect with one another.”
The playground design and equipment selection process involved careful consideration of the health and safety of the children, the environment, and the community. For a full sustainability report on this playground, please visit www.waterfrontplayground.org.