Picture a historic but rundown park, with deteriorated pathways, dirty picnic areas, unhealthy and hazardous trees, plumbing and irrigation issues, and an outdated playground. That was Lafayette Park in Pacific Heights earlier this year.
Now picture a park, with healthy trees, community gathering places, picnic and sunbathing areas, upgraded bathrooms and tennis courts, a water-saving irrigation system, a network of new pathways, and a nature-themed play area. Recreation and Park Department officials say that will be Lafayette Park after an ongoing renovation is complete next spring.
“The goal is to bring Lafayette Park to the 21st century,” said Connie Chan, deputy director of public affairs for Rec and Park.
The $10.5 million project was approved by voters in 2008 under the Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks bond. Lafayette Park is bordered by Gough, Laguna, Washington and Sacramento streets.
“It is a very needy park,” said Lynne Segal, president of the Friends of Lafayette Park.
Segal said the playground had been substandard since the 1990s — “It was beyond repair,” she said — but her group raised more than $500,000 for the playground.
“The committee was founded by several interested parents to raise additional money and provide more than a simple, basic playground for toddlers,” said community volunteer Stacey Scott.
The play area will feature a dry creek with old-fashioned water pumps, a gorge to climb, swing sets for toddlers and bigger kids, slides and a merry-go-round.
The new park also will feature a hedge around the dog run area and a nature-themed play structure for kids up to 12 years old. The entire park, except for the dog area, will be closed during construction.