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Archive for the ‘Parks’ Category


Lands End’s “Eagles Point” overlook up next for renovations; info event Saturday

A drawing of the new Eagles Point lookout; the current platform (inset)

One of our favorite lookouts in the neighborhood is from Eagles Point, at the entrance to Lands End near 32nd Avenue and El Camino. It’s a spectacular overlook of Baker Beach and the grand Golden Gate Bridge.

The Parks Conservancy and National Park Service are in the early stages of design for a new and improved lookout that would be located a bit further down the trail. Other planned improvements include stabilizing the trail, improving its surface, and removing unsafe or diseased trees.

This project will replace the existing deteriorated viewing platform with a new view point. The new view point will be accessible, easier to maintain, and set back within the trail alignment. The view point design includes benches for sitting and enjoying views of the Golden Gate. A small concrete curb will protect the viewpoint’s outer edge. Non-native, invasive trees will be removed from the viewshed. The trail to the new viewpoint will be resurfaced and regraded to meet The Draft Final Accessibility Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas (AGODA) standards. Native vegetation will be planted in areas disturbed by tree and overlook removal and adjacent to the new viewpoint.

Stop by the current Eagles Point trailhead this Saturday, January 12 at 10am to check out the designs for the new lookout, and to ask any questions you have about the project. Or visit the project website for more information, or download the plan (PDF).

Work is scheduled to begin in Fall 2013.

Sarah B.

5:33 am | Posted under Lands End, Parks, Recreation | 4 comments

Fulton Playground re-opens with a colorful celebration

Argonne students try out the new climbing structure at Fulton Playground. Photo by SFDPW

Even though the sun didn’t RSVP, about 200 people showed up to celebrate the new Fulton Playground on Tuesday afternoon. After a year-long closure and a $4.2 million budget, the park re-opened with a completely new playground, resurfaced basketball and tennis courts, and upgrades to the park’s historic Clubhouse.

The park also features a unique, kinetic sculpture from artist Moto Ohtake:

Aero #8 is a 22-foot wind driven kinetic sculpture comprised of several interlocking loops that move in continuous gyroscopic circular motions, allowing viewers to experience an infinite number of movement combinations in response to changes in wind patterns.

The playground’s makeover was financed by the $185 million Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond that voters passed in 2008. Lincoln Park Playground was also renovated from bond funds, and Cabrillo Playground recently began its renovations.

Included in Tuesday’s celebration were students from Argonne Elementary School and neighbors who live near the park, several of whom were very involved in the planning and redesign of the park. They worked closely with the Department of Public Works who project managed the renovation.

Fulton Playground consists of a clubhouse, two children’s play areas, three paved multi-use paved areas, a paved picnic area, two basketball courts, and one tennis court.

Congratulations to everyone involved in breathing new life into this favorite neighborhood park!

Sarah B.

Playing hoops on the newly surfaced courts at Fulton Playground. Photo by SFDPW.

A close up of the new kinetic sculpture by Moto Ohtake. Photo by SFDPW

Exterior of the renovated clubhouse at the playground. Photo by SFDPW

Interior of the renovated clubhouse at the playground. Photo by Peter Lauterborn

The DPW Project Team for the Fulton Playground renovation. Photo by SFDPW

Photo by Peter Lauterborn

10:15 am | Posted under Parks | 3 comments

New Rec & Park iPhone app puts a local park directory in your pocket

Last week, the city unveiled a new iPhone app for San Francisco Recreation and Parks.

The SF Rec and Park App provides the public with the best app to find locations including Parks, Children’s Playgrounds, Dog Parks, Museums, Rec Centers, Picnic Tables, Gardens, Restrooms, News, Events, and POI’s all provided with descriptions, pictures and displayed on a GPS enabled Mobile Map with directions.

The app uses your current location to show you the closest parks closest. Or you can search for parks and even filter your results by 24 different criteria like athletic fields, dog play area, children’s play area, skate park, and even community garden.

Tap on a park to see a photo of it, get hours and directions, and even sign up to be notified of volunteer opportunities.

The app has a reservations section where you can email in requests for picnic table space at parks, including Golden Gate Park. A great time saver when you’re planning an outdoor event (though as CurbedSF points out, you still have to wait for an email reply from Rec & Park to confirm your reservation). Still, loads easier than navigating the Rec & Park website or trying to find phone numbers.

The app also has an Events section which based on your location, will show you nearby happenings. Included in our list was a variety of events including the latest exhibition at the Conservatory of Flowers, Off the Grid at Civic Center, free Zumba classes, and habitat restoration volunteer events.

This is a good first effort for an app like this, and I can imagine this being handy for the SF families on the go that are looking for parks, or events to spice up the weekend.

However we did roll our eyes a bit at the persistent “Donate to Rec & Park” prompts that are visible on every park’s listing page, and even from the main screen of the app – especially since the app was developed at no cost for the city by local developer Appallicious.

SFGate reports that “upgrades to the app scheduled over the next few months will eventually let anyone report park problems to 311 using the app and also buy tickets to Rec and Park events on their phones.”

You can download the “City of San Francisco Recreation and Parks Official Mobile App” (whew, long name!) from the iTunes App Store.

Sarah B.

P.S. – Appalicious says an Android version should be available in January 2013.

5:12 am | Posted under Golden Gate Park, Parks | 3 comments

Fulton Playground renovation complete! Grand re-opening event on October 30

The new play structures at Fulton Playground. Photo by ed_chinmv

After almost exactly one year, Fulton Playground is now ready to re-open after a complete renovation.

The playground and clubhouse closed in November 2011 to undergo a $4.2 million renovation that includes a completely new playground, resurfacing of the basketball and tennis courts, and upgrades to the park’s Clubhouse. The park also showcases a unique, kinetic sculpture from artist Moto Ohtake.

On Tuesday, October 30 Rec & Park will host the official re-opening party at 11am. Stop by to checkout all the new structures, surfaces and renovated clubhouse. View event flyer

In an email inviting residents to the re-opening, SF Rec & Park Project Manager Paulina Araica thanked neighbors, many of whom participated in the planning of the new playground.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the neighboring residents on 27th and 28th Avenue for being supportive and understanding during the construction of the project,” Araica wrote.

It’s great to see another park being improved in the Richmond District! Next up is Cabrillo Playground which closed in June of this year for an overhaul. It’s scheduled to re-open in June 2013.

Sarah B.

The new kinetic scuplture by Moho Ohtake. Photo by ed_chinmv

The newly renovated Fulton Playground. Photo by ed_chinmv

5:15 am | Posted under Events, Parks | 3 comments

NYC’s “Ranting Elmo” shows up at Rossi Park; chased off by police

An adult man dressed up in an Elmo costume appeared at Rossi Park this past Saturday, walking around and trying to hug children.

Parents were concerned by the man’s appearance and demeanor, so they called police who came to the park, just as the man was taking off his costume in the area of the tennis courts.

“As he passed all of us to leave he started yelling obscenities and anti-Semitic slurs. He just went nuts,” wrote one parent on an online message board about the incident.

Police left without arresting the man, and soon after he returned to continue his tirade in front of the 50 or 60 children who were playing soccer at Rossi.

That prompted another call to police who responded with six squad cars. They eventually forced him off the playground but did not arrest him.

It turns out this Elmo impersonator has a past, and a checkered one at that. He was written up in the New York Times in June in an article entitled “Beneath a Ranting Elmo’s Mask, a Man With a Disturbing Past”.

He’s known as “Mr. Sandler” and was making his rounds in New York City’s Central Park this summer, earning money for hugging children while he was in costume. During his outings, Sandler would break into outbursts and crazy rants, many of them anti-semitic. His tirades were caught on video and even ended up on CNN.

Parents who were at Rossi on Saturday confirmed that the man profiled in the New York Times article is the same one they saw at the park.

Sandler has spent time in mental hospitals and was deported from Cambodia after a scandal involving an internet porn site he started there called Welcome to the Rape Camp.

And now it seems that this crazy Elmo has made his way to San Francisco. We have not heard of any other reports of him showing up at local parks, but keep an eye out and if you do spot him, contact the police to intervene.

Sarah B.

5:23 pm | Posted under Crime, Parks | 4 comments

Photo: Indian summer at Lincoln Park

Reader Phil sent us this photo from a trip to Lincoln Park playground on Monday. “I was struck by the the light, and the quiet sense of satisfaction that was evoked by those enjoying the park. This is Nature, and our taxpayer dollars, at work. :) This was Monday’s “perfect moment”.”

11:27 am | Posted under Parks, Photos | 1 comment

Walking tours, public meetings on Mt. Lake Park projects – Oct. 11, 13 & 18

Photo by

Next Thursday and Saturday, the Presidio Trust will host two walking tours of Mt. Lake Park, followed by a community meeting five days later.

Join Presidio Trust staff for a walk and discussion about upcoming plans for the remediation and enhancement of Mountain Lake. Enhancement of the area surrounding Mountain Lake began in 2001 and is ongoing. In November 2012, the Presidio Trust will begin clean up of the lake by dredging contaminated sediment. Additional enhancement activities in and around the lake will follow. Learn about upcoming improvements to one of the few remaining natural lakes in San Francisco from project managers and staff.

Thursday’s walk takes place from 4:30pm until 6pm, and Saturday’s walk runs from 10am until 11:30am. Both walks meet at the at the Mt. Lake Park playground. No RSVP is required.

Remediation work on the lake is expected to last until Fall 2013. After that, the Presidio will begin work on the creation and enhancement of wetland in the East Arm of Mountain Lake.

The overall timeline for the project is as follows:

  • Relocation of non-native turtle and fish population (summer 2012)
  • Night work on Park Presidio Boulevard by Caltrans (July–November 2012)
  • Limited tree and brush removals (August–October 2012)
  • Archaeological coring of lake sediment (October 2012)
  • Brush clearing and minimal excavation in the East Arm of Mountain Lake (2012)
  • Dredging of the lake (fall 2012 through fall 2013)
  • Occasional truck hauling on Mountain Lake trail (fall 2012 through fall 2013)
  • Occasional trail closures (fall 2012 through fall 2013)
  • East Arm wetland creation with vegetation removal and dredging (2013)
  • Vegetation and site restoration (2013-2014)

If you can’t make one of the walking tours but are still interested in finding out more about the project, you can attend a community information session on Thursday, October 18 at the Golden Gate Social Club in the Presidio at 7pm:

Please join the Presidio Trust and Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) for a Community Information Session on the Mountain Lake Remediation Project. This public meeting is an opportunity to learn more about the upcoming dredging and impacts on use of Mountain Lake Park, including work hours, trail and park closures, truck routes, and noise and odor levels.

No RSVP is required for the community meeting.

Sarah B.

5:13 am | Posted under Events, Parks | 4 comments

Tiles uncovered from 19th century Sutro Heights Conservatory Greenhouse

The Sutro Conservatory Greenhouse building above the Cliff House, 1886

Last Friday, a group of students from Ida B. Wells Continuation High School completed a 3-day archaeological dig that uncovered a portion of the original floor from Adolph Sutro’s Conservatory Greenhouse building [full story on sfgate.com].

The Conservatory building was torn down in 1939, along with Sutro’s family home, after they fell into disrepair. A little history about the building, courtesy of the National Park Service:

The conservatory was an elaborate greenhouse structure built to house Sutro’s collection of climate-sensitive tropical plants. Centrally located on an elevated mound east of the terminus of Palm Avenue, the structure was cruciform in plan, with a central ventilation tower. Built entirely of small glass panels mounted in wood frames, this ornate garden structure was supported by internal wood framing. The interior, which held a lush variety of palms, ferns, tropical flowers, and statuary, provided visitors with an impressive botanical display.

After last week’s excavation, the students found that the blue and white tiles that made up the Conservatory floor were still in pretty good condition, though some were cracked or upended by tree roots.

The activity was a service learning project for the students, and ended with a debate about what to do with the patch of land now that the tiles had been uncovered. Should they remain exposed to the elements so everyone could see them? Or covered back up to preserve them? The students settled on leaving about 30% of the tiled area uncovered.

Thanks to the Ida B. Wells students for bringing back a piece of Sutro Heights’ history! Makes you wonder what else is buried just under the surface of Sutro Heights Park…

Sarah B.

The uncovered tiles from the Sutro Conservatory Greenhouse building. Photo by Beck Diefenbach, The Chronicle

Students clear the ground over the tiles. Photo by Beck Diefenbach, The Chronicle

A close-up of the tiles. Photo by Beck Diefenbach, The Chronicle

2:57 pm | Posted under History, Parks | 9 comments