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Playgrounds make leap in safety

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The City’s playgrounds are safer on average than they were two years ago, with an overall grade that rose from 79 percent to 83 percent on a nonprofit’s report card released today.

Of the 125 San Francisco play areas evaluated by the Neighborhood Parks Council, 33 percent received an A, 30 percent got a B, 24 percent got a C and the remaining 13 percent failed with a D or an F and are deemed treacherous for children. On the last report card released two years ago, 21 percent of them were failing.

Each playground was graded twice based on several factors — including whether the paint is intact, the wood is splintering and the pathway is far enough away from the play equipment — for the NPC’s report card, released every two years.

After the report card is released, the Recreation and Park Department typically meets with nonprofit and other community leaders to come up with funds or other ways to improve safety.

“This represents the way that the Rec and Park Department should be partnering to really have focus and have a plan. We want to really reduce the number of failing play areas,” NPC Executive Director Meredith Thomas said. “When they fail, the structure itself needs replacing.”

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The most glaring example of a city playground making vast improvements is the Balboa Park Playground that received a D on the nonprofit’s first report card, published in 2006, and rose to a B-plus this year after Rec and Park, donors and more than 500 volunteers renovated it. Playgrounds in the Richmond district are the safest and cleanest overall, averaging 86 percent, and the remainder came close with 80 percent or higher.

Some unexpected scores include Dolores Park receiving an F — though it’s slated for a major renovation — and the Bayview Playground rose from a B to an A.

kkelkar@sfexaminer.com

Play areas that didn’t make the grade

Gilman Playground: D
Golden Gate Heights: D
Herz Playground:
D
India Basin Shoreline Park: D
Juri Commons: D
Laurel Hill Playground: D
Miraloma Playground: D
Panhandle Playground: D
Sunset Playground*: D
Washington Square: D
West Sunset Playground*: D
Youngblood Colemans Playground: D
Chinese Recreation Center*: F
Crocker Amazon: F
Dolores Park*: F
Selby & Palou Mini-Park: F

*Renovation planned

Source: Neighborhood Parks Council

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