City recreation centers brace for overflow 

The only full-service recreation center in the Outer Sunset will be shuttered for renovations next year, causing concern about where programs will be held.

The Sunset Recreation Center, located at 29th and Lawton Streets, is slated for a $13.7 million renovation that is set to begin at the end of this year.

Some of the most popular programs include table tennis, basketball and Tiny Tots for 1- to 3-year-olds, but the center also offers Kids Gym to 1- to 5-year-olds as well as tennis lessons, soccer and an after-school program.

Finding a place to hold basketball games, table tennis matches and Tiny Tots classes will be difficult while the center is closed, Shawna McGrew, a member of Friends of Sunset Playground, said.

“Every rec center is already overcrowded,” McGrew said. “There literally is no place.”

McGrew, who worked at the Outer Sunset recreation center for more than 20 years, said it is the only place with city-run programs left in the neighborhood.

The recreation center also serves as a community hall for holiday parties and classes for the community.

The number of youth and community members who could be displaced by the rec center’s closure is unknown. Renovations are expected to take one year.

Recreation and Park Spokesman Elton Pon said it is common practice to have nearby clubhouses and recreation centers absorb the rec programs during construction. He said similar moves were happening in Chinatown when the recreation center there shut for renovations.

According to the Neighborhood Parks Council, Sunset Park and Recreation Center was established in 1940. Located on a 3-acre site, it features a small field house as well as volleyball, basketball and tennis courts.

The project will include repairing and renovating the recreation center, the playground and restoring the fields and courts. There will also be restoration of the existing roadways and upgrades to the lighting. Modifications will be made to the site and barriers, that could improve access such as chain-link fences, will be removed.

District 4 Supervisor Carmen Chu said she and the community need more information on use and popularity before deciding where to place current programs.

“It depends on the demand,” Chu said. “There’s not a lot of space for activities. We’re not going to be able to accommodate all programs given the limited space.”

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

Caption
MIKE KOOZMIN/SPECIAL TO THE EXAMINER
Renovation: The Sunset Recreation center at 29th and Lawton streets is the only full-service recreation center in the Outer Sunset, and it’s set to close for a year.

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