Mayor Ed Lee’s new $350 million bond proposal dedicates $44 million to deployment facilities for Fire Station ambulances operating out of Fire Station 9 on Jerrold Avenue. (Mike Koozmin/2014 S.F. examiner)

Mayor Lee proposes $350M June bond for animal shelter, pysch unit, ambulances

Just months after voters approved Mayor Ed Lee’s November affordable housing bond, he plans to ask them to approve a $350 million bond to rebuild an animal shelter, upgrade a psychiatric unit at San Francisco General Hospital and build an ambulance deployment facility.

Details of what The City is calling the Public Health and Safety bond remain under discussion. But as currently proposed, $222 million would go to San Francisco General Hospital for such things as seismically upgrading a 1970s building housing services like The City’s only psychiatric emergency unit.

Thirty million dollars would renovate and expand the Southeast Health Center at 2401 Keith St. in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood.

Another $44 million would go toward building a deployment facility for Fire Department ambulances on property behind Fire Station 9 at 2245 Jerrold Ave. The space was once used to store water pipes and equipment for fire hydrants.

The bond would also allocate $54 million for building a new animal shelter within the envelope of an historic building at 1401-1419 Bryant St., three blocks from the existing facility.

The building, which dates back to 1893, is currently owned by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority, which used it as a powerhouse for electricity for electric trolleys.

The new animal shelter would have two floors and a roof deck with a dog run, outdoor garden for animals like rabbits and an aviary, according to Jim Buker, a Department of Public Works project manager, who recently discussed the project with the Animal Control and Welfare Commission.

“We will be able to bring animals by elevator up to the rooftop area for some open air space,” Buker said.

If approved by voters, construction on the new animal shelter would begin mid-2018 and finish in 2020.

Animal care staff say the existing facility is poorly designed and works against their mission. Buker said the existing facility “is not seismically strong enough for us to be assured that after the great earthquake that it would remain occupiable and functional.”

The new facility is designed to remain operational during and after a major earthquake. The project is also meant to have a design to match best-practices of animal care and to “improve the level of adoptability of the animals,” Buker said.

The bond would require two-thirds voter approval. “The City is very committed to only asking the voters for approval for projects that are very likely to pass,” Buker said. “It turns out that the fire department is even more popular than Animal Care and Control — and the health department is also even more popular.”

Brian Strong, director of the Capital Planning Committee, said that the hospital funding continues the work supported by voters in the past.

“The funding will modernize fire response systems and improve services by retrofitting a 1970s-era campus facility that houses outpatient visits, urgent care and the City’s only psychiatric emergency services,” Strong said in an email Monday.

“The voter-approved, state-of-the-art Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital Level I Trauma Center opens spring 2016. This
bond continues that work by addressing other outstanding needs on campus to make our health services resilient.”

The bond proposal will have its first hearing at The City’s Capital Planning Committee on Jan. 11, before undergoing hearings at the Board of Supervisors.

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