Upgrades will put Bayview park on map

A little-known Bayview district park is hidden from the view of passing motorists and Muni riders, but $1.5 million in improvement plans could help it burst into a new era of prominence.

Wedged between massive industrial operations, Heron’s Head Park spans 24 acres of waterfront land.

It was built in the late 1990s near Cargo Way and Jennings Street after Port of San Francisco-led plans to build a shipping terminal at the site were abandoned.

The peaceful park was built on artificial fill that covered up part of the Bay. It includes picnic benches, waterfront walking trails, bird nests and an off-the-grid nature education center that opened in April.

Groups of neighborhood kids are being taught environmental and nature interpretation lessons inside the modern, 1,500-square-foot building.

The problem is that hardly anybody else knows that the park exists.

“Not a lot of people in the neighborhood know they have this resource,” said Malik Looper, executive director of nonprofit park custodians Literacy for Environmental Justice. “Signage would help.”

San Francisco voters overwhelmingly approved Measure A in 2008, the $185 million Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond.

Money from that is planned to be pumped into Heron’s Head Park, which is on Port-owned state land. Roughly $1.5 million in bond proceeds will be used to create a new lawn and meadow area, additional pathways, a dog run, barbecue pits, parking for 27 cars, a bus drop-off area and a restroom.

Areas will be set aside for community gardens, although it’s unclear whether that space will be utilized.

Extensive landscaping work also is planned, according to Port official David Beaupre.

“[We want] to develop a planting pallet that’s a little more densely planted than exists in the park today,” Beaupre recently told Port commissioners.

The improvement that will be most visible for passers-by in the heavily industrialized area, however, will be a spruced-up entranceway.

The new entrance will include lights and signs to help increase the visibility of the sprawling park, according to Beaupre.

Bids could be solicited for contractors interested in undertaking the improvement work in late summer or fall, according to Beaupre.

jupton@sfexaminer.com

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