Neighborhood parks are making the grade

While a higher percentage of San Francisco playgrounds is getting top marks, according to a study done by local park advocates, one in five is in poor condition and could pose safety risks to the children playing there.

The nonprofit Neighborhood Parks Council sent volunteers to survey 118 playgrounds and, based on the findings, gave D or F marks to 25 of the children’s play areas. Some playgrounds received the same failing mark in a similar survey conducted in 2006.

Recreation and Park Department spokeswoman Rose Dennis said the grades are based on a “snapshot in time” and insisted the department was doing “a great job” taking care of The City’s playgrounds. Needed renovations were in the works, but take time, she said, noting that adequate resources are always in need.

Meredith Thomas, program manager for the Neighborhood Parks Council, said there were a variety of reasons why some playgrounds received failing grades. Some had old, unsafe play structures, issues related to cleanliness and safety, and/or maintenance problems.

One F-graded park, the Christopher Playground, has signs posted that children should not eat on the play equipment and should wash their hands afterwards, Thomas said, because the wood may contain arsenic.

The 2008 results are “both frustrating and expected,” Thomas said, acknowledging that The City does not currently have enough money invested to address all of the playground needs.

Nathan Ballard, a spokesman for Mayor Gavin Newsom, said a park bond recently passed by voters would provide funding for the playgrounds, in addition to financial support from The City’s general fund.

“Every one of these playgrounds is a priority to the mayor and he will fund the repair of many playgrounds in his budget,” Ballard said.

Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, whose district includes Youngblood Coleman Playground, which scored an F, said that while The City needs to do a better job overall with parks, she also suggested that parks in more affluent neighborhoods receive more attention.

“It’s just so unfair,” she said, noting that her district has the highest percentage of families and children.

Some playgrounds that scored poorly in 2006 saw improvements. Potrero Hill Playground went from an F grade in 2006 to an A grade in 2008 after undergoing an extensive renovation.

jsabatini@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsGovernment & PoliticsLocalPolitics

Just Posted

A felled tree in Sydney G. Walton Square blocks part of a lane on Front Street following Sunday’s storm on Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
After the rain: What San Francisco learned from a monster storm

Widespread damage underscored The City’s susceptibility to heavy wind and rain

Plan Bay Area 2050 is an expansive plan guiding the region’s growth and development over the next three decades. The regional plan addresses progressive policy priorities like a universal basic income and a region-wide rent cap, alongside massive new spending on affordable housing and transportation infrastructure. (Shutterstock)
$1.4 trillion ‘blueprint’ would address Bay Area’s housing, transit woes

Analyzing the big ticket proposals in ‘Plan Bay Area 2050’

A felled tree in San Francisco is pictured on Fillmore Street following a major storm that produced high winds and heavy rains on Oct. 24, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Philip Ford)
Storm updates: Rainiest October day in San Francisco history

Rainfall exceeded 10 inches in parts of the Bay Area

On Sunday, California bore the brunt of what meteorologists referred to as a bomb cyclone and an atmospheric river, a convergence of storms that brought more than half a foot of rain to parts of the Bay Area, along with high winds, concerns about flash floods and the potential for heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada. Much of the Bay Area was under a flash flood watch on Sunday, with the National Weather Service warning of the potential for mudslides across the region. (NOAA via The New York Times)
Bomb cyclone, atmospheric river combine to pummel California with rain and wind

What you need to know about this historic weather event

The Department of Building Inspection, at 49 South Van Ness Ave., has been mired in scandal since since its creation by voter referendum under Proposition G in 1994. (Courtesy SF.gov)
The Department of Building Inspection, at 49 South Van Ness Ave., has been mired in scandal since its creation by voter referendum under Proposition G in 1994. (Courtesy SF.gov)
Whistleblowing hasn’t worked at the SF Dept. of Building Inspection

DBI inspectors say their boss kept them off connected builders’ projects

Most Read