New SoMa park approved despite concerns

Creation of new park space in San Francisco was approved Wednesday for South of Market, but not without one city supervisor questioning the wisdom of the addition when there are inadequate resources to care for existing parks.

The City has proposed creating the South of Market West Skatepark and Dog Park in the area north of Duboce Avenue between Valencia, Stevenson and Otis streets on two parcels leased from the state.

Supervisor Jane Kim, whose district includes the site, honored the park during Wednesday’s Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee meeting for adding park space in an area with relatively little.

But Supervisor London Breed said it was “irresponsible” to increase the portfolio of the Recreation and Park Department when it can’t handle its existing stock.

“I get a lot of complaints from people in my district about the lack of visibility of park patrols,” Breed said.

In an arrangement with the state transit department, Caltrans, The City will lease the parcels, both currently surface parking lots, for 20 years for $5.3 million. The money comes from proceeds from 22 former Central Freeway parcels.

The park proposal grew out of the planning around Central Freeway demolition following damage from the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Back then, The City took over 22 parcels formerly under Caltrans and San Francisco voters stipulated that revenue from the land should go to that area’s transit and related community improvements.
Nick Kinsey, Rec and Park’s property manager, said the proposal addresses a need in the community.

“It is not a secret that our park patrol budget is not as healthy as we would hope it to be and that our resources are stretched very thin,” Kinsey said. He said the park does “fulfill two strong needs within our department and we are going to use our existing resources to manage them.”

The full board is expected to approve the proposal Tuesday.

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