‘Erratic’ upkeep at city’s parks

Inspectors of The City’s parks frequently didn’t see workers on the job as too many parks remain poorly maintained, according to a new controller’s report.

“Many parks fluctuate in quality due to erratic maintenance,” the report highlighted. Auditors were unable to get updated staff schedules from Recreation and Park Department officials, according to the report, despite a commitment from the department.

Over the last year, each of The City’s 163 parks, plazas, playgrounds and recreation spaces were inspected three times: twice by the Recreation and Park Department and once by auditors from the City Controller’s Office.

Auditors conducted three different inspections to note whether gardeners and/or custodians were on the premises during stated work times. While the report concedes that some of the parks are so large that it may be difficult to find the staff person, during the three occasions, an inspector saw a gardener no more than 41 percent of the time.

The inspectors also looked for cleanliness, the health of the plant life, graffiti and the functionality ofthe equipment, among numerous other maintenance elements.

Both agencies agreed that overall, the upkeep of San Francisco’s parks earned a “B” grade. Nearly one-third of the parks, however, received a “C” grade, with 13 parks given a “D” and eight parks falling into the “F” category. Many of this year’s low-scoring parks had been inspected every other month since they scored poorly last year as well.

The audit recommended that the department reinforce compliance for park staffing schedules. In a response letter included in the report, Recreation and Park General Manager Yomi Agunbiade said the department is “striving to improve the accuracy of the posted staff schedules” adding that there is systematic, “but confidential” follow-up of any staff absences that do not appear to be legitimate.

District 8, which includes the Castro, Glen Park and Noe Valley, has one of the highest percentages of residents visiting its parks, according to the report. It also had the most disparity in park quality — with some parks meriting an “A” grade, but the district also holding the highest number of parks rated “F.”

District 8’s Buena Vista Park in the Haight-Ashbury area failed, but Corona Heights got an “A.”

“One of the ironies is, as Park and Rec has put a lot of attention in [Mission] Dolores Park, the usage of the park has grown exponentially, which brings up a whole lot of other issues,” District 8 Supervisor Bevan Dufty said.

District 3 — which includes Chinatown, Nob Hill, Russian Hill, Telegraph Hill and the northern waterfront — had the highest number of parks that earned an “A” or “B” grade for maintenance.

beslinger@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocalneighborhoods

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Chase Center and the Golden State Warriors hosted a media Welcome Back conference to discuss the safety protocols and amenities when fans return for a basketball game on April 23rd at Chase Center on April 13, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).
Golden State Warriors ready to welcome fans back to Chase Center

COVID-19 tests, app-based food ordering among new safety protocols announced this week

People came out in numbers to memorialize George Floyd, who was fatally shot by police, outside San Francisco City Hall on June 9, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFPD prepares for possible protests as Chauvin trial continues

Police to schedule community meetings, provide officers with crowd control training

Mayor London Breed said Tuesday that with other counties moving ahead with expanding vaccine eligibility “we want San Franciscans to have the same opportunity.” (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Everyone in SF ages 16 and up is now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine

San Francisco expanded eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday to everyone ages… Continue reading

San Francisco Park Rangers have seen their budget and staffing levels increase significantly since 2014. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Citations for being in SF’s public parks after midnight soar

Data shows disproportionate impact on Black residents

A replica firearm that reportedly was held by a man fatally shot by a Daly City police officer during a struggle for the weapon on April 7, 2021. The shooting is under investigation by the San Mateo County District Attorney. (Courtesy of the San Mateo County District Attorney)
San Mateo County DA: SF man killed in struggle with Daly City police over fake gun

Lack of body cameras means no video evidence available in death of Roger Allen

Most Read