New Russian Hill park pushes opening to 2021

Francisco Park, a new open space overlooking the Bay from Russian Hill, is set to open in early 2021.

The park was privately funded by donations from community members and organizations totaling $25 million and counting. Ground was broken in July 2019 on the abandoned Francisco Reservoir, which had been unused since 1940 when The City built the “new” Lombard reservoir. Members of the Francisco Park Project planned on opening the park in November 2020, but were forced to temporarily stop construction due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I lived in San Francisco for about 20 years, and I used to run by that area and think this is so lame, we should build a park here,” said project member Julie Lee. “I’m excited, and my daughter is like ‘when is this park going to happen mom?’”

The former Francisco Reservoir site, as seen here in 2014, is being converted into a new park in the Russian Hill neighborhood. (Nathaniel Y. Downes/2014 Special to the S.F. Examiner)

The park will be located amongst some of San Francisco’s most desirable real estate, but The City wouldn’t let developers build housing on the land because it’s considered a historical landmark, according to Lee. The project started over 10 years ago, and this month, the Conservancy is launching a campaign to raise the final $2.5 million dollars needed to complete the project.

“There’s these little extra things that we still need funding for, but we’re like let’s just break ground and hopefully we can raise the money,” Lee said.

Those who donate over $1,500 will be honored with their name engraved on the park’s steps. According to the project’s conceptual design, the park will feature a dog run, a picnic area and a children’s playground.

“After more than a decade of work, I’m thrilled that we will soon celebrate the opening of the brand-new Francisco Park,” said District Supervisor Catherine Stefani in a statement. “Since 2008, when I wrote the resolution that preserved the property as open space, our community pulled together and raised over $20 million to create a beautiful public park. I’m so excited about what we’ve accomplished together, and I can’t wait to bring my kids to Francisco Park!”

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