A place where drugs and alcohol are as commonly seen as puppies and babies. Where hippies, drug dealers, musicians, and families can all be found sharing the same sixteen-acre space with each other. A place known as Dolores Park. Located in the heart of the sunny Mission District, Mission Dolores Park is a hot spot for both the people of the Mission community and visitors to the area. The park has been around since the early nineteenth century, and since then, it has undergone major changes. It is currently undergoing its biggest transformation yet.
In 2008, over 71 percent of San Francisco voters approved the Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond, a $185 million general obligation bond that included $13.2 million to improve Dolores Park. The project started in March of 2014, with the plan to divide the project in two phases, shutting down only half of the park at a time. On March 13th, the northern end of the park was shut down for construction to commence. The original plan was to finish construction in an estimated six months time, meaning it would have re-opened in the September of 2014. However, more than six months have passed and the northern section of the park is still under construction.
“Due to unforeseen challenges, the first phase of the construction taking place on the North side of the park is now going to be delayed by as much as four months, and is expected to be completed by early 2015,” explained Amy Moore of San Francisco Recreation and Parks. “Shortly after, the second phase of the construction will take place on the south side of the Park.”
Some of the improvements to the park will include new restroom facilities, renovated tennis and basketball courts, improved designated off-leash dog areas, new bike racks and pathways, improved irrigation, and ADA (Americans with Disabilities) access.
“Dolores Park will be even more beautiful, comfortable and functional when the project is complete,” says San Francisco Recreation and Park’s, project manager, Jake Gilchrist.
Although construction is causing half of the park to remain closed, this has not stopped park-goers from spending sunny afternoons snuggled up a little closer to each other at the what is left open at Dolores Park. According to San Francisco Recreation and Parks, if all goes as planned, the entire project should be finished by September of 2015.