South Park Still South on Funding
One of the oldest public parks in S.F. is in dire need of a makeover, and the woman tasked with raising the needed $3.5M for the facelift is co-chair of the South Park Improvement Association (SPIA) Toby Levy (there's $350k left to raise). The 34k SF oval-shaped patch of land in SoMa was originally designed as an English strolling park, Toby tells us. She's also a local architect and has lived steps from the park for decades (architects have an eye for the next neighborhood hotspots, she says). At noon the park is buzzing with lunching tech workers. The plan is to demo existing asphalt paths and construct new colored concrete paths re-routed and graded for accessibility.
The two existing play areas will be replaced with one big one (pictured). Also expect new trees, new lawns and drought tolerant landscaping, as well as a new automated, water efficient irrigation system. The renovation plan was born in 2009, with the SPIA (with assistance from the San Francisco Parks Alliance) approached the Recreation and Parks Department for a grant to replace one of the play structures. Supervisor Kim started the ball rolling by including South Park in the 2010 Park Bond for $1M, she says. The bulk of other funding will be coming from the Eastern Neighborhood Community Benefit fund, which is collected from local development projects.
Toby tells us she hopes to go out to bid in May and start construction this fall. This week, the SPIA held an 11th hour fundraising event right near the park at 2 Jack London Alley, a newly renovated space teed up and ready for a tenant to sign on the dotted line (TCP is marketing it). The formerly dilapidated structure resembled "a zombie apocalypse" upon entrance, we were told at the event. What a difference some modernization makes. The refresh took about four months.