A Master Plan for the Park's Renovation
The History: Over the course of many years, Alta Plaza Park has suffered from neglect due to a diminishing allotment of funds to the city's Recreation and Parks Department maintenance operation. Pathways are disintegrated and dangerous, benches are splintered, concrete regularly falls off walls in large chunks, trash cans are missing fronts and tops or simply not where they need to be. The park has also been subject to inappropriate and ineffective efforts to "improve" it. One example is the south side of the park, which is now covered in a sad and sorry mess of fescue (also known as no-mow grass), the result of a water conservation project that was completed in 2012 (and which seems, in fact, not to be conserving water at all).
The sidewalks on the perimeter of the park have been problematic for more than 25 years; however, the Recreation and Parks Department is now in the process of analyzing the problem and has a plan in the works to install a system of French drains to fix it.
Friends of Alta Plaza Park decided in early 2014 that it was time to come up with a Master Plan for the park's renovation that would address the needs of the community for a safe, beautiful, and usable park. With this plan, we hope to avoid the arbitrary installation of no-mow grasses or inappropriate shrubs and other work that does not meet the needs or interests of the community. It will be a blueprint for phasing in improvements that the community wants to see. Community members had opportunities in the spring and fall to attend meetings at which solutions to the park's problems were presented and evaluated before being incorporated into the master plan.
Community Opportunity Fund
Funds will be needed to improve Alta Plaza Park. In June 2014, we learned that $1.3 million had been allocated from the city budget, earmarked for improvements and repairs to Alta Plaza. And, fortunately, also at this time, the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department has once again made funds available through the Community Opportunity Fund (COF) Program as a result of monies derived from a 2012 Bond measure. The COF gives neighborhoods, community groups, and park lovers an opportunity to make improvements to their parks.
The fund encourages active participation by community members who must work together to define and imagine how their park can be improved. Requirements for application to receive money include three community meetings. As part of the application process, detailed plans for the improvements must be drawn up along with a budget.
Friends of Alta Plaza Park will be working on an application to be submitted for the next round of funding in 2015. A panel consisting of representatives from Rec and Parks, the community, and other park experts will judge the merits of the application and the process through which it was developed. Only a certain number of applications are approved due to the limited funds available.
For updates on the community meetings and their results, please see the News page.