Report on Rec and Park’s March 18, 2014 Meeting re Water Conservation Project for the North Side of Alta Plaza Park


Rec and Park’s Marvin Yee ran the meeting, which opened with an update on the status of “percolation” tests that are being performed to find out the cause of water flow onto the sidewalks surrounding the park.  Mr. Yee anticipates that we’ll have some answers and proposals for solutions after analysis is completed.  Proposals are due in mid-April.

Mr. Yee also talked about the history of Alta Plaza Park as a redrock quarry (which may be what's behind the drainage problems) and cited a San Francisco Chronicle story of interest about the park dated March 5, 1967.  He also noted a book of interest entitled Gables and Fables, San Francisco’s Pacific Heights.

 Weeds in the No-Mow Grasses

Mr. Yee said that the weed problem in the no-mow grasses will be addressed, possibly beginning next week, through a process of applying a “wick weeder” designed to penetrate to the roots of the weeds.  The weed-killing project is to be implemented by Shelterbelt Builders.  This company has a good track record, so we are optimistic about the results.  You can review the company’s website to learn more about their “green” approach to landscape management.

Zack Taylor, Acting Park Areas Service Manager, noted that we are in the experimental stages of figuring out how best to manage/eliminate the weed problem, and that it will take time until it is brought under control.


North Side Water Conservation Project

 Andrea Alfonso, Landscape Architect in the SF Department of Public Works, made a presentation describing the plantings under consideration for the north side of the park and at all the entrances to the park.   Community members had many comments on the plans, expressing preferences for some plants over others, noting that some plants were inappropriate in some locations, and also pointing out that the planned use of decomposed granite in the playground would not be an appropriate choice because children could be injured if they fell on it.

 Mr. Yee suggested that the work for the conservation project be scheduled over the period of January – April 2015, and that the north side of the park be reopened in the summer of 2015.

 Once the project starts, updates are to be in the form of walk-throughs, to which the community will be invited, and on the Rec and Park website.  The full presentation of the evening's program is now posted, along with the minutes that recap the proceedings and comments from the community.


No Community Consensus Reached on Water Conservation Project

 Perhaps the most important comments came at the end of the meeting when Mr. Yee asked for consensus from the group that the landscape plans met their approval, and that the water conservation project should proceed as planned.   Friends of Alta Plaza Park members did not agree that consensus had been reached due to the fact that, while water conservation is an important mandate, the feeling of the community is that the many safety and aesthetic concerns of the community should have an equal – or perhaps even greater – mandate.

 Friends of Alta Plaza Park will be meeting with Mr. Yee to discuss this matter further.  We look forward to many cooperative and productive meetings to reach the objective the city and Friends of Alta Plaza Park both have in common – to improve/renovate/repair all the aspects of Alta Plaza Park so that it is safe and beautiful and appropriately serves both our community and the extended community of people who visit and use it every day.


Please stay tuned…..