November 2016 Community Update

To all of our park supporters,

The following provides you with an update on the revised timeline and scope for the Alta Plaza Park North Side Project.

CURRENT TIMELINE

  • Construction drawings to 90% completion: November 2016
  • Finalize drawings in preparation for bid process: December 2016 – February 2017
  • Project construction bid and award prices: February – July 2017
  • Construction duration: July 2017 - February 2018

REASONS FOR PROJECT DELAY

  • Project staffing change at San Francisco Recreation and Park Department (SFRPD)
  • Cost estimates executed on project construction drawings at 60% completion came in well over budget
  • Estimated cost overages necessitated project scope revision

REVISED PROJECT SCOPE

  • North side irrigation system replacement
  • French drain installation along much of perimeter to eradicate water seepage onto sidewalks
  • Installation of drought tolerant sod on upper lawn and on hill north of playground
  • One new pathway at Scott St. /Washington St. entrance
    • This pathway starts at the Scott St. / Washington St. entrance, continues east up the hill and then heads right at the fork,  turns right at the playground then runs along the west side of the playground to connect with the new donor recognition site.
  • Donor recognition site with curved bench
  • New benches
  • New landscaping at all, north and south, entrances in accordance with the Master Plan specifications
  • Refurbished kiosk at playground with decorative tiles denoting principal playground donor name

PRIORITY ADD-ONS

  • Installation of donated bike racks
  • New trash receptacles
  • Signage

UNFUNDED NORTH SIDE COMPONENTS

  • Remaining pathways
  • Deteriorating walls, bollards and stairs 
  • Lighting (FOAPP Community Opportunity Fund application was denied)
  • New picnic area furniture
  • Maintenance area with storage shed
  • Additional landscaping
  • Dog bag receptacles

UNFUNDED SOUTH SIDE COMPONENTS

  • Pathways
  • Terrace landscaping 
  • Deteriorating walls, bollards and stairs
  • Central plaza
  • Playground area landscaping and trees
  • Pergola
  • Lighting
  • Benches
  • Trash receptacles
  • Hand railings
  • Signage 
  • Dog bag receptacles

 

FUNDRAISING

With no additional funding commitment from SFRPD, Friends of Alta Plaza Park (FOAPP) began their outreach to the community.  Our lofty goal was to raise $1.5MM to cover the unfunded components of the North Side Project only and fully complete the north side.

(The revised estimated cost of the project now makes this initial goal greatly insufficient.)

This initial outreach has brought in:  $16,500.

Additionally, we have one $5,000 contribution for a new commemorative bench.

(A $5,000 contribution for a commemorative bench (10 year term) provides the park with a new bench and all money remaining from the cost of the bench, installation and personalized plaque goes directly into the North Side Project.)

If you are interested in making a donation please go to:  www.sfparksalliance.org.  Please contact Paula Martin at paula@sfparksalliance.org to request a commemorative bench. 

 

SAN FRANCISCO PARKS BOND

Alta Plaza Park’s infrastructure continues to deteriorate (walls, stairs, pathways, etc.) and, as we have witnessed with the North Side Project, construction costs continue to escalate.  SFRPD has advised us that they have no long term strategy to deal with these problems.  With a renovation of this magnitude, inclusion in the next Parks Bond (tentatively – 2019) would be an appropriate and critical funding solution.  (Both Lafayette and Dolores Parks were recipients of the 2008 Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond.)  We implore all members of our park’s community to advocate for this.  Please take the time now to e-mail our Supervisor Mark Farrell at:  Mark.Farrell@sfgov.org  and request that Alta Plaza Park be part of the next Parks Bond.  

 

VOLUNTEER RECRUITMENT

If you would like to be actively involved with Friends of Alta Plaza Park and the future of this park, WE NEED YOU!  

Janet Gamble’s involvement with F0APP will be limited to overseeing construction of the North Side Project on behalf of FOAPP and will end upon completion of the project.  Anita Denz will continue to commit herself to coordinating the CLEAN AND GREEN DAYS and the current park renovation along with Casey McGrath and Mollie Brown. 

More volunteers are needed to advocate for this park’s future and implement the Master Plan.  Please contact FOAPP at:  altaplazapark@gmail.com to get involved.  

Thank you for your continued interest in our neighborhood park, Alta Plaza Park.  Please contact us with any questions or comments.

Sincerely,

Janet and Anita
Friends of Alta Plaza Park

 

Capital Committee Announcement

We are excited to share that we plan to present the Master Plan to the Recreation and Park Capital Committee on Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at 2pm, City Hall, Room 416.

The Master Plan will be an item on the Capital Committee agenda. The item will be presented to the Committee and they will either recommend the item to the consent calendar for the full Commission or recommend that the item is heard again, in which case the item will be presented again to the full Commission on Thursday, April 21, 2016. Either way, we should have final approval by 4/21/16.

If you cannot attend the Capital Committee or, potentially, the follow up full Commission presentation, would you consider expressing your support via email to the Recreation and Park Commission?Marc

The email address is: Recpark.commission@sfgov.org

Please use this link to view the final version of the Master Plan:  https://themillercompany.sharefile.com/d-sf2dac78772e4b9b9

2015 Park Progress Report

Happy Holidays to the Alta Plaza Park Community.  

We would like to take this opportunity to briefly cover the successes we have had this year in restoring Alta Plaza Park to its prior splendor and beauty.  None of this would have been possible without the tremendous commitment of our park volunteers and the staff at San Francisco Recreation and Park (SFRPD), San Francisco Parks Alliance (SFPA), Supervisor Mark Farrell and his staff and Miller Company Landscape Architects.   Additionally, we would like to update you on park activities and goals for 2016 and the challenges that lie ahead, including the need for additional funding.

2015 ACCOMPLISHMENTS

SFRPD Community Opportunity Fund

Our Community Opportunity Fund (COF) grant application to fund lighting on the north side of the park was submitted in August.  SFRPD has notified all applicants that the selection of recipients will hopefully be made in January, 2016.

Alta Plaza Park Master Plan

We are so grateful to the community, the volunteer committee members and all those at SFRPD, SFPA and Miller Company who have helped design, develop and shepherd the Master Plan through the City approval processes.  We are still anticipating successful completion of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review in Spring of 2016.  We anticipate presenting the plan to the SFRPD Commission after completion of the CEQA review.  Advance notice of the Commission hearing will be sent to all park advocates currently in our data base and others as determined by SFRPD.  The final version of the Master Plan drawing can be viewed at:  http://www.millercomp.com/projects/alta-plaza-park.  Click on:  Fall 2015 – Alta Plaza Park Master Plan.  The complete and finalized document will be available later in January.  

French Drains and Water Capture Cistern Concept

The perimeter French drains are to be installed in conjunction with the North Side Water Conservation Project, which will commence in mid-2016.  SFRPD is working with hydrologists at the San Francisco Department of Public Works (SFDPW) to devise a method of measuring the amount of water that will flow through the drains to help determine the feasibility of installing a cistern system in the park.

No Mow Grass Replacement and Remediation

SFRPD is prepared to fund the installation of new no mow grass on the two south side terraces where the current off-leash dog area exists, and on one of the east side terraces as shown on the Master Plan.  Installation will be coordinated with the North Side Water Conservation Project.  Final confirmation of the proposed funding is contingent upon receiving satisfactory pricing from the contractor in the Spring.

SFRPD Maintenance has also committed to regular (every other week) mowing of the remaining no mow grass to prevent weed infestation of the new no mow grass and the new lawn on the north side.

At present, SFRPD contemplates that the funds necessary to replace the remaining weed infested no mow grass with drought tolerant, low maintenance plantings will be part of our community’s fundraising goals.

Pathways

Many, but not all, of the pathways on the north side will be replaced in conjunction with the North Side Water Conservation Project to maximize cost efficiencies.  Funds to cover the remaining north side pathways will be an immediate goal of our community fundraising.  

Tennis Court Wind Screens and New Playground Equipment Piece

We sincerely appreciate the new tennis court wind screens that were provided by SFRPD in July.  We are also grateful for the replacement of the damaged piece of playground equipment that is happening now.

Sadly, many of the new wind screens were vandalized last month and the park maintenance staff is now looking into having them repaired or replaced.  Security at the park continues to be a significant concern and we have reported the vandalism to the Richmond Police Station.

Green Benefit District Exploration

The idea of implementing a Green Benefit District (GBD) in our community as a solution to the long term maintenance and security needs of Alta Plaza Park was raised at one of the very first community meetings.   In January, we will be meeting with the District Program Manager of the newly created SFDPW Green Benefit District program, a community initiative that works in partnership with SFRPD, local stewards, neighbors and stakeholders to improve the quality of San Francisco’s neighborhood parks, streets and open spaces.  The City’s first GBD was launched at the end of July in the Dogpatch and Northwest Potrero Hill neighborhoods.  More information about their program can be found on their webpage:  www.dnwph-gbd.org.  

If any of our community members are interested in getting involved with exploring the potential of this kind of program in our neighborhood, please contact us at:  altaplazapark@gmail.com

North Side Water Conservation Project

We have attended two project meetings to date to review the progress and development of the North Side Water Conservation Project construction documents.  At the third meeting scheduled in January, we will review the documents at 60% completion.  Participants at the meetings include Friends of Alta Plaza Park (FOAPP), SFRPD, SFDPW and Miller Company.

The project schedule is on track.  Construction will begin Fall 2016 and be completed in Spring 2017.  During construction the northern portion of the park will close.  The dog play area on the south terrace and the tennis courts will remain available for public use.  

Funding for the scope of the project to date covers replacing the north side irrigation, installing French drains around the perimeter of the park, landscaping the north side of the park and several other entrances to the park, installing the playground donor recognition site with its surrounding curved bench and repaving several north side pathways.  

Clean and Green Days

Our quarterly Clean and Green Day events were very well attended this year.  We are indebted to the volunteers who faithfully donate their Saturday mornings and sweat equity to help SFRPD Park Services Managers and Gardeners tackle specific maintenance projects.  Hats off to our refreshment donors, Peet’s Coffee on Fillmore and Trader Joe’s, for generously furnishing beverages.

CAPITAL CAMPAIGN - 2016

Community contributions will be needed to complete the north side including:  completion of the rest of the pathways, repair and restoration of the two north side corner entrances, installation of benches and trash cans, planting of trees, and the addition of lighting if we are not awarded the COF grant.  We will also need to fund the restoration and renovation of the south side.   

Working with Miller Company and SFRPD, we are fine tuning the costs to complete the north side and south side and will have a definitive funding goal and an itemized cost list by early 2016.  

Prior to embarking upon a capital campaign, we will need to form a core team consisting of the following committees:

  1. Fundraising Committee
    Establish goals
    Develop plan and timeline
    Generate a prospective donor list
  2. Communications Committee
    Orchestrate one-on-one meetings
    Implement direct mail program
    Execute social media program
  3. PR and Community Outreach Committee
    Orchestrate event planning
    Identify and implement other PR opportunities

WE NEED YOUR HELP.  Our activities to date have been carried out by only a few volunteers.  More community involvement is essential to realize our goals.   

Please contact us at altaplazapark@gmail.com  if you would like to:

Volunteer for a committee

Make a donation to the Alta Plaza Park 501 (c) 3 Trust

Make introductions to potential donors

Provide support in any other way

We thank you for your continued support and we look forward to greater collaboration to realize Alta Plaza Park’s restoration and renovation.  

Wishing you and yours all the best this holiday season.  

Janet Gamble and Anita Denz
Friends of Alta Plaza Park

Community Update - October 22, 2015

Dear Alta Plaza Park Community,

This is a progress update on the Master Plan and the North Side Water Conservation Project, including pathways and drainage:

Master Plan

The Historical Resources Evaluation (HRE) is in progress, requiring only minor revisions to the Master Plan. The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review is expected to be completed in Spring 2016.   The Master Plan is now tentatively scheduled to be presented to the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department (SFRPD) Commission around the same time period.  

North Side Water Conservation Project, Pathways and French Drains

 In anticipation of an approved master plan, the preparation of the construction documents will begin this month.  The scope of the project includes replacing the north side irrigation, installing French drains, and landscaping the north side and the several entrances to the park.  Selected pathways will also be repaved utilizing the City add-back funds that were directed to the park.

Friends of Alta Plaza Park (FOAPP) had requested that the south side French drains be separated from the North Side Project and be installed this Fall.  However, the cost of installing the south side drains independently of the North Side Water Conservation Project came in much higher than estimated as a result of a bid process conducted by SFRPD.  FOAPP and SFRPD mutually decided that the south side drains should be incorporated back into the North Side Water Conservation Project to regain the cost efficiencies associated with a larger project.

The pathway estimates have come in much higher than expected as well.  As a result, we have selected pathways on the north side to be renovated first to maximize the cost efficiencies associated with a larger project and to minimize disruption to park access among users.   SFRPD will increase the scope of pathways to be renovated if competitive bids come in lower than budgeted.

Timing for the project is on schedule.  Construction is to begin mid-2016 and to be completed early 2017.

Community Opportunity Fund Grant – Park Lighting

The final application for park lighting for the north side was submitted to SFRPD.   The awards are to be announced in November.  Thanks to all of you who provided letters of support that were included in the application. 

Playground Donor Recognition Site

Plans for a donor recognition site commemorating the contributions made by individuals for the playground renovation have long been delayed due to various circumstances. We are moving forward with this component, and it will be completed in conjunction with the North Side Project.  The site location is near the playground at the southwest corner.  Miller Company has presented a design which is under review.  Construction will be funded using monies set aside from donors' contributions to the playground fundraising campaign. 

Funding

FOAPP met with Supervisor Mark Farrell in September.  Jeffrey Miller of Miller Company presented the Master Plan and FOAPP made a request for additional funding.  No new funds for renovating the park are available at this time.  We have asked the Supervisor to keep our needs high among his priorities and he assured us of his ongoing support.

Community Fundraising Campaign

FOAPP will be actively working with San Francisco Parks Alliance and SFRPD to design and implement a Capital Campaign.  The first step is to form a steering committee.  We need your help to stage and execute a successful campaign.  Please contact us if you have experience in this area and can help us achieve this incredibly worthwhile goal for our community.  Write us at this email address:  altaplazapark@gmail.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.  

Pacific Heights Residents Association Meeting - October 22, 2015

FOAPP and Jeffrey Miller will be attending the PHRA meeting where the Master Plan will be available for viewing.  Please drop by to see what our community collaboration has achieved.  

We look forward to your continued involvement and support for this exciting project.

Janet Gamble and Anita Denz

Friends of Alta Plaza Park

COMMUNITY UPDATE – August 10, 2015

Dear Alta Plaza Park Community Members,

We have a few items to bring to your attention today.

We have been advised by San Francisco Recreation and Park Department (SFRPD) of further delays in the Historic Resources Evaluation (HRE) and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process for the Master Plan. The delays should not affect the timeline for construction of the SFRPD/PUC North Side Water Conservation Project or replacement of the pathways funded by Supervisor Mark Farrell's add-back funds.  The delays will, however, affect the presentation of the Master Plan to the SFRPD Commission for approval.  The projected timing for the presentation is now March - April, 2016.

To avoid construction delays,  SFRPD has strategically reorganized the sequence of activities and anticipates that the work will still begin mid-2016 and be completed in early 2017.  In order to accomplish this, development of the construction documents will overlap with the HRE/CEQA process and both should be completed simultaneously.  

We received an update from San Francisco Parks Alliance (SFPA) that discusses the results of a research brief, Still Seeking Green, which found that the lack of funding for the City's parks over the past 15 years has significantly affected the quality and maintenance of our parks.  SFPA and Supervisor Mark Farrell are working to address this massive problem that has contributed to the infrastructure and maintenance decline of Alta Plaza Park. You can find the article and the research results at this link: 

http://sfpa.convio.net/site/MessageViewer?em_id=1581.0&dlv_id=5601&pgwrap=n

Within the SFPA update is a PARK PRIORITIES SURVEY.  Please take the time to participate in this survey to inform SFPA and Supervisor Farrell what park services are most important to you.  The link to the survey is: 

http://sfpa.convio.net/site/Survey?SURVEY_ID=1600&ACTION_REQUIRED=URI_ACTION_USER_REQUESTS&AddInterest=1041

We will be meeting with SFRPD shortly to identify the specific pathways to be replaced within our add-back fund budget of $1,043,828.  We are approximately $500,000 short of funds to cover the replacement of ALL the pathways in the park and continue to pursue resources to accomplish this hugely significant goal.

As mentioned in our last update, the installation of the south side French drains scheduled for this Fall is still on track.  Additionally, we will be meeting with SFRPD to determine the timing for installing replacement grass for the one terrace of the no-mow to be funded by SFRPD.  

Our thanks go out to our terrific park community for your patience and continued support with this process.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

Regards,

Janet Gamble and Anita Denz  

Friends of Alta Plaza Park

P.S.  Did everyone see the new tennis court wind screens?  Thank you SFRPD Park Service Area Manager Zack Taylor!

 

FRIENDS OF ALTA PLAZA PARK UPDATE

Since our last update to the community in March, Friends of Alta Plaza Park (FOAPP) continues to make progress on the repair and renovation of the park.  Our Landscape and Maintenance Committee has met with Supervisor Mark Farrell and Legislative Aide Catherine Stefani.  It has also met with Phil Ginsburg, SFRPD General Manager and many other members of SFRPD staff.  We continue to advocate for short and long term strategic planning, funding and commitment to Alta Plaza Park.

The following describes where we stand to date on various components.  Once again we would like to extend our sincere thanks to everyone on the Committee whose input has been invaluable.  We also thank the Supervisor and his staff, General Manager Ginsburg and the many individuals at SFRPD who are helping us work through this process.  Many thanks go out to Jeffrey Miller and his terrific team at Miller Company, Landscape Architects as well.  

As always, we appreciate any and all input from the park community.  We can be contacted at altaplazapark@gmail.com.  Please visit the website at  www.altaplazapark.com for more information.

 

A. MASTER PLAN

The Master Plan document is in its final stage of completion with Miller Company.  City Planning is finalizing the Historic Resources Evaluation (HRE) working with SFRPD and Jeffrey Miller.  

As of this writing, the plan is tentatively scheduled to be presented to the SFRPD Commission for approval in August 2015.  The schedule is dependent upon timely completion of the HRE.  Construction on the SFRPD/PUC North Side Water Conservation project is scheduled to begin in 2016 and conclude early 2017.

B. RENOVATION AND REPAIR PRIORITIES

We have firmly established the priorities for the park’s restoration and repairs. They are:  drainage, no-mow grass remediation and pathways.  We will continue to move forward with the funded portion of the project (Supervisor Farrell’s add-back and the SFRPD/PUC North Side Water Conservation bond/grant) using these priorities as guidelines.

C. DRAINAGE

The French drains for the south side perimeter (funded by Supervisor Farrell’s add-back) are in the construction bidding phase.  The planned installation date is Fall 2015.

The north side French drains will be installed in conjunction with the SFRPD/PUC North Side Water Conservation project. 

D. NO-MOW GRASS REMEDIATION

Following our meeting with General Manager Ginsburg and Supervisor Farrell, members of the Landscape and Maintenance committee toured the south side of the park with Marvin Yee, SFRPD Project Manager, and Zack Taylor, SFRPD Park Services Manager, to evaluate how much of the no-mow grass needs to be replaced.  The results of this site visit indicated that three quarters of the grass is beyond repair.  The remaining quarter would require large scale herbicide application with instructional signage posted for park users, dead weed removal, timely sod replacement (or ground cover) and irrigation adjustments where there is significant browning.  

We have requested that all of the no-mow grass be replaced and that funding for the replanting should be the responsibility of SFRPD and should not be underwritten by the add-back funds that were specifically directed to drainage, pathways and furnishings.

As of July 2, 2015, we were informed that SFRPD will provide $100,000 to replace one terrace of no-mow grass at the off leash dog area.   Timing for the installation has not been determined.   

FOAPP will continue to work with SFRPD to identify funding opportunities within the Department and City for replacement of the remainder of the no-mow grass.

E. PATHWAYS

Of the $1,343,000 total amount of add-back funds, $299,172 was allocated to the French drains.  We believe that directing the remainder of the funds, $1,043,828, to new pathways would be appropriate and beneficial at this stage of the project.  As these funds are not sufficient to replace all the pathways, we are working with SFRPD and Miller Company to estimate costs and select pathways that would be appropriate for replacement at this time based on practicality and aesthetics. The construction timing will coordinate with that of the SFRPD/PUC North Side Water Conservation project.

FOAPP will continue to work with SFRPD and Supervisor Farrell to obtain additional funds for the rest of the pathways.

F. TENNIS COURT WINDSCREENS

Zack Taylor has acquired new windscreens for the tennis courts.  They are scheduled to be installed later this month.

G. PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT REPLACEMENT

Zack Taylor has confirmed that the broken piece of playground equipment was ordered, has arrived and will be installed in September.

H. COMMUNITY OPPORTUNITY FUND APPLICATION FOR PARK LIGHTING

The draft Community Opportunity Fund grant application for park lighting was submitted to SFRPD in April.  FOAPP met with SFRPD in June to review the application and receive feedback.  The final application is due in August.  We anticipate hearing back in October or November as to whether or not we have been awarded the grant.   If we receive the funds, installation of the lights would coincide with the construction work on the SFRPD/PUC North Side Water Conservation project.

I. WATER CAPTURE AND REUSE

Per our discussion with General Manager Ginsburg, SFRPD needs to quantify exactly how much water is flowing out of the park before a capture/reuse feasibility study might be implemented.  After the installation of the French drains this Fall, SFRPD can measure the volume of run-off water.  FOAPP will continue working with the Department to evaluate the concept of capturing and reusing the water.

J. CLEAN-UP DAY – JUNE 13, 2015

Along with members of the November Project, members of the Fernando Fitness Kickboxing Team joined our faithful regulars for June’s Clean-Up Day event…over 30 strong!  We so appreciate the dedication of these groups and our neighbors.  Thanks again to the SFRPD gardening staff for their time and effort to make these events so successful.   The next Clean-Up Day is September, 13, 10:00 AM, at the Children’s Playground.  If you would like to receive notices of volunteer work days, please email altaplazaclean_up@yahoo.com.

 

Submitted by:

Janet Gamble and Anita Denz

Friends of Alta Plaza Park

 

Friends of Alta Plaza Park Update

Friends of Alta Plaza Park (FOAPP) have been moving ahead on a number of different fronts, including meetings with Miller Company, Landscape Architects, SFRPD and other City agencies. Initial meetings of both the Landscape and Maintenance Committee and the Water Recapture and Reuse Committee, composed of neighborhood residents who have participated in Community Outreach Meetings, were convened in early March to define goals, explore strategies and assign tasks. Our sincere thanks to the committee members for their invaluable time, counsel and commitment.

Following is a summary of our activities, project progress and next steps. As always, please contact us with your questions and comments. E-mail: altaplazapark@gmail.com, or visit us on our website at www.altaplazapark.com.

A. MASTER PLAN

The Master Plan, reflecting community consensus for the minimal Option A design, is in its final stage of completion by Miller Company, Landscape Architects. Our last update of January 30, 2015, indicated that the projected date for presentation of the Master Plan to the San Francisco Recreation and Park Commission for approval would be April 2015. We have since been advised that the Master Plan will require a Historical Resources Evaluation (HRE) as part of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review procedures.

The revised timeline provided by SFRPD for approval of the Master Plan and the subsequent completion of most of the north side Phase One is as follows:

March July, 2015: HRE

August September, 2015: Presentation of Master Plan to SFRPD Commission for Approval

October, 2015 April, 2016: Construction Document Development

May August, 2016: Advertising and Bidding Process

September April 2017: Construction of North Side Phase One

Marvin Yee, SFRPD Project Manager, advises that although the schedule for the HRE cannot be accelerated, as a City project it moves to the head of the line.

B. LANDSCAPE AND MAINTENANCE ISSUES

On February 9, 2015 several members of the Landscape and Maintenance Committee met with Marvin Yee, SFRPD Project Manager, Zack Taylor, SFRPD Park Service Area Manager Marina Complex, and Reza Baradaran, DPW Geotechnical Engineer. Each of these issues was subsequently discussed in a follow up meeting of the committee convened on March 5, 2015.

1. French Drains

Reza Baradaran described the testing, design and function of the French drain system that is to be installed around significant portions of the park’s perimeter to ameliorate long-standing drainage issues.

As all of the French drains are currently scheduled to be installed next year as part of the north side irrigation work, the group discussed whether it would be possible to “decouple” the south side drains from the north side work and install them as soon as possible.

SFRPD has agreed to install the south side French drains in Summer 2015.

2. No-Mow Grass

The problem areas of the no-mow grass were discussed. Zack confirmed that poor preparation, the possibility of contaminated seed and inadequate maintenance all contributed to the problem. Currently the total volume of no-mow grass requires far too much maintenance. Large portions of the no-mow grass are to be replaced with drought tolerant plantings per the Master Plan, while the off-leash dog area and other areas on the east and west sides are to remain as no-mow per the Master Plan. It was requested that a sample of the drought-tolerant plantings be done to assess the look and viability. Additionally, the committee requested a test patch of the new grass that will be installed on the north side.

SFRPD has agreed to plant a test patch on the north side prior to replanting the entire north side in conjunction with the SFRPD/SFPUC North Side Irrigation Project. Further, SFRPD has alsoagreedtoplantatestpatchonthesouthside. Thesuggestedlocationisthetoptieron the south side of the park, to the right of the grand stairway. The patches will be planted in April, 2015 and will be clearly identified by signage as test areas. Community feedback will be solicited.

SFRPD has committed to replacing, at its expense, the existing no-mow grass with new no-mow grass in the areas where it is to remain per the Master Plan, and to improve the appearance of the remaining grass utilizing a remote control mower until the grass is replaced with drought tolerant plantings. This work is scheduled to happen May July 2015.

FOAPP is working with SFRPD to also fund the installation of drought tolerant plantings that will be replacing the failed no-mow grass.

3. Other Repair Issues

a. Asphalt Repairs Marvin Yee advised that there is no current funding for these repairs. FOAPP is working with SFRPD Dennis Kern, Director of Operations, to resolve this funding and timing issue.

b. South Side Lower Pathway Leak – Zack Taylor’s team has repaired the plumbing and sprinkler head leaks. However, a pool of water still exists. The thinking is that because the soil in that area is largely clay, water collects and does not dissipate. Park staff is investigating the idea of filling that area with pea gravel or sand to facilitate drainage.

c. Broken Playground Equipment Zack Taylor followed up on this long standing repair issue and a replacement part now has been ordered. Delivery is expected in May 2015 with installation shortly after receipt.

d. Damaged Tennis Court Windscreens (3) Zack Taylor provided an estimate to replace windscreens of $2,000 each. His budget can accommodate one windscreen. Alternative sources of funding for the other two windscreens are being pursued by SFRPD and FOAPP.

4. Boggy Areas on the North Side

Questions were raised as to how the drainage in the boggy areas on the north side will be addressed in conjunction with the north side irrigation work. The concept of replacing the topsoil was identified to be a possible, but costly, solution. Revising watering schedules and grading may also aid in reducing water retention in the soil.

SFRPD will continue to investigate solutions to the boggy areas on the north side.

5. Reallocation of Funding from North Side to South Side

The north side Phase One, which coincides with the SFPUC Water Conservation Project, is projected to be completed in April 2017. As of now, the plan is to direct all of the money received from Supervisor Farrell’s City budget add-back of $1.343 million (less funds to install the uncoupled south side French drains) to Phase One.

This focus on funding for the north side pushes any remediation of the south side (other than the installation of French drains) to sometime after April 2017. Because the south side is in critical need of attention, the suggestion was made to reevaluate the allocation of the add-back funds.

In conjunction with SFRPD and Miller Company, FOAPP will investigate the possibility of reallocating City budget add-back funds negotiated by Supervisor Mark Farrell from the north side to the south side.

6. Work Order System and Park Personnel Resources

Zack Taylor reviewed the “work order” system which addresses maintenance repair requests.

FOAPP’s Landscape and Maintenance Committee will coordinate with Zack to review work order status on a quarterly basis and conduct any necessary follow-up. The Committee will explore developing its own data base with photographs to monitor the status of repairs

Zack Taylor provided information as to the personnel resources allocation system for the park. Four positions on Zack’s team (which is responsible for approximately 15 parks in the Marina Complex, including Alta Plaza Park) are to be filled, hopefully by October 2015. One additional gardener will be devoted to Alta Plaza Park in the near future, restoring the number of dedicated gardeners to two. With this staff addition, Zack is confident that the new plantings, trees and hedges per the Master Plan can be well maintained.

FOAPP will continue to monitor personnel resources allocated to the park. Anita Denz will pursue increasing the number of clean-up days with the SFRPD Volunteer Office to support gardening staff.

C. WATER RECAPTURE AND REUSE

The Water Recapture and Reuse Committee met on March 11, 2015. In addition to committee members, attendees included Jeffery Miller, members of his staff, and Joel Pomerantz who is an authority on water in San Francisco.

After considerable discussion, the committee concluded more engineering will be required to determine the viability of a system to capture sufficient water within the park for irrigation. Jeffrey Miller stated that the PUC has endorsed such exploration.

Jeffery Miller will identify Bay Area geotechnical engineering firms and ask for proposals from them for a water recapture and reuse feasibility study.

D. FUNDING

At present, other than funding for the North Side Irrigation Project and the City budget add-back funds of $1.343 million negotiated by Mark Farrell, there is no funding to complete the balance of the Master Plan.

Possible funding sources include:

  1. City Funding

    The Landscape and Maintenance Committee is actively working with the City to prioritize the renovations per the Master Plan and identify City funding sources.

  2. Community Opportunity Fund Grant Application

    FOAPP is moving ahead with the application process for the Community Opportunity Fund Grant to fund park lighting. The first draft is due April 3, 2015.

  3. Other Funding Sources

    Other funding sources will include additional funds from SFRPD and the City (to the extent available), funds to be raised from a capital campaign, and perhaps proceeds from the next bond issuance anticipated to occur in 2018.

The Master Plan will be implemented in phases contingent upon the necessary funds being available.

E. CLEAN-UP DAY MARCH 14, 2015

The spring clean-and-green day once again benefitted from a large turnout by the November Project, a fitness group that works out in Alta Plaza Park every Wednesday morning. Augmented by members of the Canvas Church, along with volunteer regulars, the work party swelled to 55 -- the largest crew ever.

With perfect weather conditions and plentiful coffee from Peet's, juices from Trader Joe's and bagels and fixings provided by FOAPP, the volunteers enthusiastically tackled weeding of the south side no- mow terraces under the supervision of SFRPD Park Service Supervisor Tudy Aubry and gardeners Laura Garcia and Kendra Armitage. Great strides were made in addressing the unsightly appearance of these areas. Our deep appreciation to all volunteers for their enthusiasm and dedicated support.  

PLAZA OPTION SURVEY RESULTS LETTER

The plaza options survey for Alta Plaza Park is now complete.  Many thanks to all of you who participated in the survey.

We received an excellent response rate of 46%.  Of these respondents, 62.5% preferred Option A (minimalist) and 37.5% preferred Option B (relocation of tennis court and expansion of central plaza).

The Master Plan incorporating Option A will now be completed and presented to the Recreation and Park Commission for approval as described below.  A record will be kept of the design for Option B to preserve the work that was done on this design.

Thank you for the comments we received along with your option preference.  A great many of your emails reflect an ongoing and deep concern as to the ability of the park maintenance staff to address the no mow grass situation and the drainage issues.   We continue to carry on a dialogue with SFRPD and SFDPW to resolve these problems.  

In this regard, it is important that we have more community involvement in these efforts.  As such, we are forming three committees to address ongoing issues and to move the Master Plan forward.  They are:  1) Maintenance Committee, 2) Water Recapture and Reuse Committee, and 3) Capital Campaign Committee.  If you have interest in participating in any of these committees, we would greatly appreciate hearing from you.  We currently have several volunteers but need more to accomplish our goals.  

Phase One is the irrigation project on the North Side.  Funding for this phase is through the Water Conservation/Irrigation Renovation Project managed by SFRPD/PUC as authorized by the 2012 Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond.  With Supervisor Mark Farrell’s support, monies have also been allocated in the City budget to fund French drain installation and, on the North Side, renovated pathways and new benches and trash receptacles.  SFRPD is coordinating resources to address the no mow grass as well.  A timeline of activities will be provided when available.

The Master Plan is scheduled to be presented to the Park Commission for approval in April 2015.  The work to complete Phase One will then commence as follows:

Construction Documentation             May – November 2015

Advertise and Bid                                  December 2015 – March 2016

Construction                                          April – September 2016

Completion                                             October 2016    

The balance of the Master Plan will be implemented in phases contingent upon funding and satisfactory resolution of the maintenance issues. 

As always, please contact us if you have any questions or comments.

Thank you for all your enthusiastic support.  Please get involved and volunteer for a committee.

We are going to make this happen!

PLAZA OPTION SURVEY LETTER

Happy New Year to all our Park Enthusiasts!

Because of your valued contributions to Alta Plaza Park's renovation project, would you please take the time to respond to this very brief survey concerning the TWO PLAZA OPTIONS for the Alta Plaza Park Master Plan?  Your input will allow Friends of Alta Plaza Park and Miller Company, Landscape Architects, to move forward with Master Plan development.

BACKGROUND

Throughout this master planning process, we have presented two options for a proposed plaza at the top of the grand staircase at Clay and Pierce Streets.  As stated in our December 12 e-mail update, based on the input we received at the three community meetings, your completed comment sheets and  e-mails , we were confident that the consensus was to take a minimalist approach (Option A below) and NOT to relocate the multi-use court to create a large scale plaza (Option B below).

In an effort to confirm that we accurately gauged community reaction to these two choices, could you take a moment to tell us which option you prefer.  For your reference, the renderings presented at the community meetings for each plaza design are attached.  Please e-mail us your choice by January 23, 2015 by replying to this message at our new address:  altaplazapark@gmail.com.


OPTION A AND OPTION B - DESCRIPTIONS AND COST ESTIMATES

A brief description of each plaza option and their respective design, engineering and construction costs for implementation are outlined below.  Please note:  1) Costs  associated with the Phase One North Side portion of the plan are not included in the estimates as the City has allocated funds to cover this phase.  2)  Estimated costs for the cistern system (Water Recapture and Reuse System) have been eliminated as there is substantially more work to be done to determine the feasibility of this concept.

    
Option A

  • Minimalist approach
  • Multi-use court is left in place
  • Playground fence is moved back
  • Open plaza area to have new landscaping and seating

Estimated cost of total project:  $7,056,000

 

    Option B

  • Relocate multi-use court to east side terrace above Steiner Street
  • Reconfigure one of the two remaining courts to be multi-use
  • Create a large scale plaza with tables and seating, new landscaping and plinth (architectural feature)

    Estimated cost of total project:  $8,117,000

 

When all survey responses received by January 23 have been tabulated, we will inform you of the results and provide an update on our activities.  Further, we will solicit your support in establishing three initial committees to help Friends of Alta Plaza Park ensure the successful realization of the Master Plan:   Park Maintenance Committee; Capital Campaign Committee; and Water Recapture and Reuse Committee.

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions or concerns.

Thank you very much for your participation in this important survey.  Stay tuned!

Best regards,



Janet Gamble and Anita Denz
Friends of Alta Plaza Park
E-mail:  altaplazapark@gmail.com

Report on the November 22 Community Meeting

Our last meeting on November 22 was well attended, and the presentation generated considerable constructive feedback now incorporated in the latest Master Plan iteration.

Jeffrey Miller and his team presented a revised Master Plan, a project phasing scheme and preliminary budget, which can be viewed at www.millercomp.com. The plan addresses ongoing drainage issues, landscaping, refurbishments, renovations and facilities enhancements.

We are now progressing to final preparations and budgets.  Based on the input received, we have elected a minimal design concept. The tennis court atop the Clay Street grand staircase will not be relocated to the Steiner Street side.  While this concept was viewed by many as a better utilization of space, both the estimated cost and potential noise impact for Steiner Street residents were viewed as major obstacles.

The minimal design approach still incorporates a plaza between the children's playground and the multi-purpose sports court with seating and enhanced landscaping.  The result will be a much more pleasing location to gather and enjoy the City's southern panorama.

Overall, park entrance designs received wide approval from participants, albeit with the majority preferring a minimal approach for the Jackson/Pierce entrance. The new design proposed for the Steiner/Washington entrance drew mixed responses, both for aesthetics and cost.  Consequently, the current configuration will be retained with only necessary upgrades and renovations consistent with those designated for all other entrances.

Budget
Estimated costs were broken down into three Phases:  Phase One covers the north side; Phase Two, the south; and Phase Three was to have been the tennis court relocation and a new Steiner/Washington entrance, both now eliminated.

Phase One encompasses the north side Water Conservation/Irrigation Renovation Project managed by SFRPD/PUC as authorized by the 2012 Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond.  It is estimated that this funding, when combined with City budget earmarks secured by Supervisor Mark Farrell, will underwrite French drain installation along the entire park perimeter, and cover renovated pathways, new benches and trash receptacles.

Public/Private Funding
The Friends will submit an application for a Community Opportunity Fund grant this spring and continue to pursue all potential funding opportunities.  In the event that funds for Master Plan Phases Two are not secured, we will develop a capital campaign to meet the shortfall.

Time Line - Phase I North Side
Environmental evaluation - January 2015
Presentation to the Recreation and Parks Commission - March 2015
Phase One construction drawings and contract bids - Fall/Winter 2015
Construction commences - Early 2016

Water Recapture
The cistern irrigation system is still strongly supported by the community. Interaction with the City to assess its feasibility and funding continues and will not delay Phase One north side irrigation remediation scheduled for 2016.

Maintenance
The issue of park maintenance is a major concern for all park users.  Miller Company and the Friends group have met with the head of SFRPD Operations and park staff to review the proposed landscaping plan.  Meetings will be ongoing throughout the entire life of the project and beyond.

Sponsorship
key take-away from discussions with SFRPD Operations is that the City's entire park system relies heavily on a coordinated, consistent and committed volunteer effort.  The Friends will meet with SFRPD this week to help identify prospective corporate groups willing and able to make this level of commitment.

Community Support
Please do continue to provide your comments, concerns, questions, recommendations and, we hope, encouragement.  Along with valued input, we seek your participation in the process.  Should you have time to help the Friends of Alta Plaza Park continue this mission, your assistance will be most appreciated.  We may be reached at altaplazapark@yahoo.com and look forward to hearing from you.

Report on the October 15 Community Meeting

We had another good turnout for the October 15th community meeting, considering we had stiff competition from the Giants game. Many different user groups were well represented, which was terrific. 

Check out the full presentation HERE.

What happened at the meeting?

Jeffrey Miller and his team started things off by presenting detailed drawings of a trenching and cistern system designed to capture and reuse water from underground springs, run off and rain water. (Did you know the park is the head waters of Hayes Creek which empties into the Mission?) Jeffrey has been conducting extensive research into this issue and has been meeting with water experts within SFDPW and SFRPD. Both departments are demonstrating a great deal of interest in this recapturing concept. 

This truly could be an opportunity to spearhead a whole water sustainability program for the entire park system as many of the city’s parks are dealing with the same issues as Alta Plaza. More engineering research is required and Jeffrey will be presenting that information at the next meeting in November.

Beyond the drainage and irrigation issues, Jeffrey’s concepts also focused on the preservation of our urban forest for this generation and future generations. He has suggested the use of trees to help aesthetically unify the park, provide accessible shade and to visually create a separation between the park and the neighborhood so that when you enter, you feel like you are in a green space surrounded by vegetation not just buildings. 

Jeffrey presented revisions of the concepts presented at the last meeting. The concepts successfully demonstrated the vision of a “traditional” park reflecting the architectural characteristics of the neighborhood. The addition of new structures were minimized. He incorporated wooden benches throughout and provided samples of potential light fixtures, benches, trash cans, pavement, etc. The central plaza ideas were more refined in look and feel and more detailed plantings schematics were presented.

What happens now?

We asked everyone at the meeting to fill out comment sheets and/or email Jeffrey their opinions. We will keep you posted on the outcome of those. Please be sure to attend the next meeting on November 22, and keep checking this site. 

Report on the September 13 Community Meeting

The turnout for the September 13 Community Meeting was awesome!  More people than at any previous Community Meeting showed up to hear about our success in winning a $1,343,000 allocation from the 2015-16 city budget and to get a glimpse into the future of the park.  Thanks to donations from Starbucks Coffee and La Boulange pastries, people in attendance maintained the strength to contribute ideas and suggestions throughout the two-hour-long meeting.

What happened at the meeting? 

We had loud applause when we noted our $1,343,000 allocation; we briefly reviewed the timeline of the past year; we got some updates on the progress (or lack thereof) on solutions for drainage and weed-control problems; and, most important, we saw visuals of and discussed at length Miller Landscape Architects' proposals for the Master Plan for the park.  Sparks flew at certain points, but, overall, the democratic process prevailed and people spoke their minds in a civilized manner, congratulating the Miller team on presenting some interesting and, in some cases, truly beautiful concepts.

What happens now?

Jeffrey Miller, leading his enthusiastic, creative, energetic team, goes back to work on the Master Plan and incorporates the input from the meeting.  More work gets done on figuring out the best solutions to the drainage and weed-control problems.  Some cost-estimating begins.  At the next Community Meeting, the Miller team will present a revised Master Plan and a report on the progress made in addressing park infrastructure problems.

How do you find out more, going forward?

Keep checking this site!  And plan to attend Alta Plaza Park events.

Master/Concept Plan Inspires Awe

Yesterday, September 5, 2014, Friends of Alta Plaza Park met with Jeffrey Miller and the Miller Company Landscape Architectcts team that is working on the development of the Master Plan for the renovation of Alta Plaza Park.  We came away from the meeting awe-struck.  Led by Mr. Miller, the team has kept the essence of the park's personality while creating design solutions for repair/improvement of the infrastructure, improvement of accessibility and safety, enhancement of use, and integration of the overall aesthetic of the park.

We can't say enough good things about Miller Landscape Architects' approach to addressing the problems of the park.  They have listened to the input of the community and are constructively helping us to envision how we can make the park the best it can be.

Alta Plaza is truly a gem among San Francisco's parks.  The views from the park are outstanding -- both from the north side, with outlooks over the Bay, and from its terraced south side, with city views.  The park is special enough to attract visitors not only from the surrounding neighborhoods but also from other parts of the city, the Bay Area, the state, the U.S. and foreign countries, who make it a destination.  The Miller team is helping us to put back the polish on our San Francisco gem.  Three upcoming community meetings are intended to get more input from the community and to finalize the plan for submission to the Recreation and Park Commission early next year.  Please come to the meetings to give us your thoughts and reactions.....details of date, time, place on the Events page.

Wow! Supervisor Farrell's Support Helps Get Significant Funding!!

We are head over heels with excitement!  We've just returned from a meeting with Catherine Stefani, Legislative Aide to Supervisor Mark Farrell.  Ms. Stefani gave us the incredible news that $1,343,000 has been budgeted for Alta Plaza Park repairs and renovation over the next two years!  We are enormously grateful for the support of Supervisor Farrell and his staff in making known the deteriorated and unsafe conditions at the park and the desperate need for repairs and renovation.  Thank you Supervisor Farrell, Ms. Stefani, and the great team at Supervisor Farrell's office!

Master Plan Development

Following a search and selection process, we are happy to report that Friends of Alta Plaza Park now have on board an experienced and notable landscape architecture firm to develop a master plan for the park.  Miller Company, the firm that helped design the renovation of Lafayette Park, begins working with FOAPP and the community next week (July 22, 2014).  In the upcoming months, the firm will be conducting surveys to gain a better understanding of the infrastructure needs of the park and how the community views the park's facilities.   These surveys and studies will create a basis for proposals and suggestions that will be presented to the Recreation and Parks Department and to the community for process and approval.  Three community meetings will be held during the next several months to obtain community consensus on the proposals.  Please check the Events page on this website for announcement of the meeting dates, or E-mail us to be placed on a mailing list for the announcement.

 

Update and Good News!

Marvin Yee, Project Manager, SF Rec and Park Department, has just provided an update on various issues related to Alta Plaza Park -- weed control, repaving of some pathways, investigation of water seepage, etc.  It also includes much good news about the prospects for repairing and improving our beautiful Alta Plaza Park in an efficient, cost-effective manner by integrating the tasks involved in the mandated water conservation project with a master plan to be developed under the auspices of Friends of Alta Plaza Park (FOAPP).

As Mr. Yee notes, FOAPP is currently evaluating the proposals of several landscape architects and will soon choose one of them  to begin work on a master plan for the park.  During the summer and fall, as the plan evolves, we will ask the community to attend meetings to evaluate, comment on, and provide input.  Please check the "Events" section of this website for the dates of the meetings, which will be posted as soon as they have been determined.

Here's Mr. Yee's memo:

The Recreation and Park Dept. (RPD) would like to take this opportunity to provide an update on the status of improvements for Alta Plaza Park:

o  Soil prep work is planned for portions of the south side where extensive weed eradication was recently done. This will occur within the next month after which new no-mow sod will be laid.

o  Supervisor Farrell's FY14-15 budget request to repave the Scott St. entrance and to address the water seepage onto the sidewalk has made it into the City's budget recommendation. It is now awaiting the Mayor's signature.

o  The Friends of Alta Plaza Park (FOAPP) is shortlisting prospective landscape architects to interview. The selected landscape architect will develop a master plan through a public process for Alta Plaza Park. The planning process is anticipated to begin in the summer and conclude in the fall, then followed by a capital fund-raising campaign.  This is an exciting opportunity to share your vision for Alta Plaza Park! Please stay tuned for future announcements.

o  To coordinate with the development of this master plan, the City and FOAPP have agreed to reconvene in July/August after public master plan meetings are held to consider modifications to the water conservation project. Meanwhile exploratory work to improve park drainage and address the perimeter water seepage continues, including (a) a video taping of drain lines throughout the park revealing that much of the drain lines are intact; (b) on-going percolation testing along the park perimeter; and (c) a request for cost proposals to remove sidewalk pavers at two locations to investigate possible natural springs beyond park boundaries: 1) Clay/Steiner Streets, and 2) Scott/Washington Streets. This work may begin as early as the end of June.

The Recreation and Park Department appreciates your patience and understanding. Feel free to contact Marvin Yee, Project Manager, at Marvin.Yee@sfgov.org for more information.

Report on FOAPP’s April 14, 2014, Meeting with Rec and Park

Report on FOAPP’s April 14, 2014, Meeting with Marvin Yee, Project Manager, San Francisco Recreation and Park Department; and Amanda Dougherty, Water Conservation Administrator, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

In addition to Mr. Yee and Ms. Dougherty, the following were present:

Abigail Maher, Sr. Administrative Analyst, SFRPD; Sahiti Karempudi, Manager, Park Partners Program, San Francisco Parks Alliance.  Friends of Alta Plaza Park representatives at the meeting were: Janet Gamble, Teri Goodman, Anita Denz, Judith Maxwell, and Harry Schoening.

Background to the Meeting

We are happy to report that Friends of Alta Plaza Park’s meeting with Marvin Yee and Amanda Dougherty on Monday, April 14, had some very positive outcomes.  This meeting was called following the Community Meeting on March 18, 2014, concerning the north side water conservation project.  At that Community Meeting, no consensus was reached among community members on the proposed landscape plan for the park that had been developed by Rec and Park.  Community members felt that there were too many issues that had priority in addition to water conservation and landscape improvements, and that an effort should be made to address those priorities, as well.

Integrating FOAPP’s Master Plan with the Water Conservation Project

At the April 14 meeting, FOAPP asked about the possibility of integrating the schedule for the water conservation project with the objectives of an FOAPP Master Plan that a landscape architect will develop over the next several months.  Amanda Dougherty, representing the Public Utilities Commission, was able to state the position of the PUC, which is involved in planning and overseeing the water conservation project.  Both Mr. Yee and Ms. Dougherty agreed that some re-scheduling would be possible.  FOAPP is greatly encouraged by this agreement, as it means there could be significant savings in cost and time for the work needed in the park.  In addition, it would reduce the extent and length of park closures necessary for repairs and renovation.

Another excellent result of the meeting is that Mr. Yee noted it would be possible to lay conduit for electrical wiring while the north side of the park is being excavated for replacement of the irrigation system.  Again, this will mean savings in cost and park closures.

Abigail Maher was extremely helpful in detailing the process through which a proposed Master Plan must be approved by various governmental agencies.  We are looking forward to her continued support and assistance with this process.

“Request for Proposal” to Go Out to Landscape Architects

We are also grateful to Mr. Yee for his invaluable assistance in the creation of a “Request for Proposal,” a document we are submitting to a number of landscape architects that asks them to describe the process, phases, and cost of a Master Plan for the park.   A critical requirement of the Master Plan is that it reflect input from the community gathered through surveys and community meetings.   In addition to surveys and three Community Meetings already held earlier this year (on February 1, March 1, and March 13), FOAPP will be scheduling several more community meetings.  The landscape architect whom FOAPP hires will be present at these meetings to ensure that the community has a number of opportunities to provide input and understands and agrees with the proposed improvements.

Other Matters

Harry Schoening, neighbor and supporter of Friends of Alta Plaza Park, mentioned that he had noticed some white lines recently painted on the park pathways at Clay and Scott Streets.  He asked whether those lines were intended to indicate where repairs to the pathways were to be made, and he noted that, in fact, the entire length of the pathway needed repair, not just the small section indicated by the lines.  Following the meeting, Mr. Yee investigated the matter and said that the repairs would be put on hold pending the outcome of the June city budget meetings, which would provide a better idea of the funds available for pathway repair/replacement. 

At the conclusion of the meeting, Mr. Yee proposed that FOAPP accept the proposed landscape plan as currently developed by RPD, stating that it could be amended to conform with the FOAPP Master Plan as needed.  He said that it would be more efficient to get the plan through the process now and amend it later, rather than to wait until the Master Plan has been approved.  FOAPP agreed to these conditions.

 

 

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

Drainage

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…..

 

 

Report on the Third Community Meeting -- March 13, 2014

Thanks to those of you who attended the third in our series of Community Meetings.  These meetings were originally intended to fulfill a requirement of San Francisco Recreation and Park Department’s Community Opportunity Fund Program.  However, as we explained during the meeting, we have decided to put our grant application on hold until the next round, which begins later this year.  We are deeply appreciative of your support for our decision and hope to have your continued support as we move toward the goal of making Alta Plaza Park the best it can be.

Here's a re-cap of the meeting:

Water Conservation Project

We reviewed what we learned about the north side Water Conservation Project during the last combined Rec and Park/Public Utilities Commission meeting on February 4, 2014.  During that meeting, community members expressed a desire to keep the park much the same, with as much lawn as possible. People were concerned about making the same mistakes as were made on the south side of the park – i.e., the weed-infested no-mow grasses, excessive irrigation, poor drainage, deteriorated pathways and lack of a cohesive look to the landscaping.  Rec and Park’s Marvin Yee and Lizzy Hirsch headed a park walk-through on February 20, during which people cited changes they would like to see -- upgrades/clean up/cohesiveness and areas they wanted to remain the same....generally open green space.  

Marvin Yee promised there would be a different type of lawn from that planted for the south side water conservation project.  Detailed landscape plans are to be presented at the next meeting: Tuesday, March 18, 2014; 6:00 to 7:30 p.m., Town School for Boys, 2750 Jackson Street.  Please show up for this meeting!  The future of our park depends on it.  You can find out more about the water conservation project on the Rec and Park website.

After the meeting on March 18, we will also create a new page on this site to keep you informed about the project.

Drainage and Pathways

There wasn’t much to report on the drainage and pathways issues….six or seven holes are being drilled by hydrologists at various points in the park to investigate the sources of the water that flows onto pathways and sidewalks around the park, even when there’s no irrigation turned on and no rain.  As we mentioned at our last meeting, Marvin Yee hopes to have proposals by mid-April for a solution to the drainage problems.  (As an aside, a community member commented that he wondered why the problem has been allowed to exist for more than 25 years and is just now getting attention.)

Repairs actually have been made to the pathways in the past few weeks.  But after ten months of our repeatedly making known to Rec and Park and to Supervisor Farrell’s office that conditions on the pathways were dangerous and unsightly, we now have two small asphalt patches.  Neither of these patches covers areas that we photographed and sent to Rec and Park, nor are they on high-traffic routes, so we wonder how they were selected for repair.  We’re guessing that these repairs comprise about .01% of what’s needed…….after ten months…….(sigh)

Asphalt repair #1.....about 18" long x 20" wide.....

Asphalt repair #1.....about 18" long x 20" wide.....

Asphalt repair #2.....From atop the hill, you can see how small this repair is.....

Asphalt repair #2.....From atop the hill, you can see how small this repair is.....

Weed Infestation of No-mow Grasses

Friend of Alta Plaza Park Kathryn Kenna took this photo showing weeds growing as high as her waist.

Friend of Alta Plaza Park Kathryn Kenna took this photo showing weeds growing as high as her waist.

At our last meeting, the question was raised as to why the original contractor who installed the no-mow grasses isn’t being held accountable for the weed infestation.  We now have a committee to investigate the answer to this question:  Kathryn Kenna heads the committee that will begin requesting a review of the original contract and inquiring whether there is recourse to the contractor.  Although Marvin Yee has told us that there is the prospect of Rec and Park’s signing a $10,000 contract for weed removal, we’ve heard nothing further about it.   We do, however, continue to see Gardener Marvin Moulton out and about pulling weeds and working with a crew to fill in the large, gaping pits that are created when the weeds are removed.  So far, we’d say we’re at the same .01% of what needs to be done with the weeds…...  Meanwhile, the weeds grow higher and higher….  If you have legal expertise or other experience relevant to this type of investigation, and would like to volunteer, please E-mail us.

Registering Your Observations of Park Problems

If you're so inclined, you may want to register your observations of deteriorating, unsafe, and problematic areas of the park by sending an E-mail and illustrative photos to:

catherine.stefani@sfgov.org  (Supervisor Mark Farrell's office)

phil.ginsburg@sfgov.org  (Mr. Ginsburg is the General Manager of Rec and Park)

No matter how frustrated you may feel, please be courteous and respectful when writing.  We've found it's always more effective to help people to see your point of view, if you can do so with a positive, calm approach.

Community Opportunity Fund Program (COF)

We reviewed our decision to wait until the next COF grant period to apply for funding.  We realized, after the last meeting, that we had not made enough progress to submit a workable plan that would be competitive against other parks’ plans, nor did we have enough community consensus.  This decision has given us the time we will need to both develop a creative concept plan and to incorporate all the elements we’ve identified as being important to the community during our park surveys and Community Meetings, i.e., lighting, benches, green refuse area enclosure, entries, seating/picnic area, dog wastebag stations, signage.

We have already begun meeting with several landscape architects and will be exploring ideas with the goal of formalizing a conceptual plan.  We will continue to work with the relevant city agencies to ensure we are following guidelines and requirements and that we can coordinate, where possible, with other work scheduled for the park.  For example, the north side water conservation project will require excavation that will present an opportunity for trenching for electrical lines to feed new lighting the community would like to see in the park.  After our conceptual plan has been developed, we’ll begin to figure out the best, most efficient, and most cost-effective way to pay for the work. 

Green Benefit District (GBD)

Following a look at some slides that clearly exposed the widespread deterioration of the park, we raised the new topic of creating a Green Benefit District for the ongoing maintenance and improvement of the park.  As was noted earlier during the meeting, ten months of effort have produced little work by Rec and Park to correct the vast problems of the park.  Many American cities are following the “benefit district” model.  The model allows for concerned citizens to agree to tax themselves to pay for added benefits such as better maintenance of their parks, more security, more timely improvements, etc.  A contract is signed between the city agency that has responsibility for certain basic levels of maintenance (i.e., Rec and Park) and the entity that the community establishes for the added benefits.  There is no cutback in services from the city, as provided in the contract.  An example of a GBD currently in formation in San Francisco is the one for Dogpatch-Potrero Hill.  For more information, please see the Dogpatch website.  We have formed a committee to investigate the feasibility of creating a GBD for Alta Plaza Park.  We are looking for more members of this committee; if you’re inclined to volunteer, please E-mail us.

 San Francisco Parks Alliance

The San Francisco Parks Alliance states: 

“The mission of the San Francisco Parks Alliance (SFPA) is to inspire and promote civic engagement and philanthropy to protect, sustain, and enrich San Francisco parks, recreation, and green open spaces.”

The organization has certainly helped our community become engaged!  Representatives of the organization were the ones to tell us about the COF Program and to help us navigate through the various city agencies. Thank you, San Francisco Parks Alliance!

Many parks in the city are in the same as or worse shape than Alta Plaza.  In neighborhoods where local residents don’t have the resources we have in Pacific Heights, the Parks Alliance steps up to help fund needed improvements.  To learn more about the Alliance and to show your support by becoming a member, please go to the organization’s website.

 Clean-up Days and the Emergency Siren

 Friend of Alta Plaza Park Anita Denz continues to organize our “clean and green” days in the park.  There was a great turn-out for the last one on Saturday, March 8.  Please see the schedule for upcoming dates on the Events page.

Anita also continues to pursue the installation of an emergency siren to be placed in the park, which would provide a warning in case of an emergency. 

 

Again, our thanks for your continued support and involvement!

 

 

 

A new gardener in town

If you've noticed that the landscape at Alta Plaza Park has been looking better these days, you can thank our new gardener, Marvin Mouton.  Marvin is delighted to be at Alta Plaza Park; in fact, he loves it.  He says it has the best views of any park he knows and, in the early morning, when he arrives for work, it has the freshest air.  Marvin has worked for SF Rec and Park for six-and-a-half years, most recently at the Angelo J. Rossi Pool and Playground.  While working there in 2009, he received the Raymond Hammond Hall Gardener of the Month award.

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Aside from gardening, Marvin is into vintage cars. He owns a 1972 Mercury Cougar convertible that he has restored himself.  His other vehicles are a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, a Mini Cooper, and a truck.  Marvin at one time worked as a mechanic for the U-Haul company, and he really knows his way around a car's insides, which comes in handy when he has to jumpstart one of Rec and Park's vehicles.

Aside from vintage cars, Marvin likes vintage houses.  He owns one and has renovated it himself, since he also can do carpentry, electrical work, and plumbing.

Marvin grew up in New Orleans with a Creole mom and dad, and was part of a family where everyone cooked.  He was raised on gumbo, he says, which explains why it's one of his favorite foods.  His other favorite food is pasta, and he accounts for that by noting that his fiancée is Italian and also a great cook.

Look for Marvin when you're in the park some time, and stop to say hi and to thank him for his hard work.