Park renovation moving ahead despite vandalism

Despite recent setbacks construction at Dolores Park is moving ahead.
Important highlights include:

  • The North Restroom is 99% complete. New toilets, sinks, and hand dryers have all been installed.
  • The clubhouse will start demolition on Monday, and will last about 1 month.  The construction fences have shifted in order to include a safe and secure perimeter around the building during this demolition.
  • Operations Building is complete and the Rec & Park team is moving in.
  • Final stretches of pathways will be paved in the next one to two weeks.
  • Site lighting is almost complete, and site signs and furnishings will be installed shortly.


The vandalism on Valentines weekend caused about $100,000 in damage and will likely delay the reopening of the north side of the park.  The majority of the damage was incurred when the vandals hot-wired the construction equipment and drove across the newly installed turf and concrete, damaging the equipment, the new grass lawn, and portions of newly-placed concrete that hadn’t fully cured.  The vandals broke portions of the irrigation system, crashed into building and site walls, and started a fire in the new maintenance yard.  Two arrests were made by the SF Police Department. The contractor is still assessing the damage and the ramifications to the project’s schedule.

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A Park Under Pressure: Dolores Park Volunteers Ready To Help

The fame of Dolores in the Bay Area and throughout the world continues to grow. It is in every tour book and on every bucket list. And a smaller Dolores Park has done nothing to discourage her growing fans. So as we have all learned to make do with a lot less lawn and the increasingly more disgusting porta-potties, Dolores is suffering too. It’s time to give something back. The Dolores Park Works Volunteers will be out in force on four Saturday mornings this fall to help rake lawns, weed beds and clean up around the well used benches.

The park seems to see more people every weekend while struggling to get by on the same amount of care. The playground for instance goes 24/7. Before dawn fitness classes and dogs, soon toddlers and nannies, then after school groups and dads till dusk. At night tweens and teens call the playground home. And finally, at 2 p.m., the bar crowd finds Dolores an excellent and low-cost after hours spot. Nearing the end of a third summer, the new Hellen Diller Playground is well broken-in. One of the toddler hobby horses has been in the shop the entire summer.

New playground days before opening, February 24, 2012.

New playground days before opening, February 24, 2012.

We can do our part to help. Come on out for one of four Dolores Park Works Volunteer Days. Show Dolores Some love!

  • October 4
  • October 18
  • November 1
  • November 15

All dates are Saturday. We meet at 9 a.m. and work till noon. Gather at the entrance to the playground. Light snacks and coffee will be provided. Dress in layers and sensible shoes.

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Major Dolores Park Construction Delay Announced

Completion of the North Side of the Dolores Park improvement project is now expected to be early 2015, a 4 month delay. Jake Gilchrist, manager for the project told us that unforseen problems were discovered during excavation of the foundation for the new maintainance shed. Excessive ground water was uncovered and had to be extracted before the contractor could continue and the soil then had to be reinforced to stabilize the area.

Birds-Eye view of the new concrete at the  plaza and promenade.

Birds-Eye view of the new concrete at the plaza and promenade. photo by  Cara Ruppert, Rec and  Park

Gilchrist told us that he and the contractor knew about the ground water issue for some time but,”needed to study the problem to find the actual impact on the project.” The construction delay will cost an additional of $2.2 million for a total of $18.3 million budget. The project is funded by the 2008 Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond, the additional funds will come from the bonds contingency reserve.

A  new accessible pathway has been installed.

A new accessible pathway has been installed.  photo by Cara Ruppert, Rec and Park

So despite major progress, (see photos) there is still a lot left to do. The entire Dolores Park improvement project is still on target for completion in late 2015, according to a post on the project web-site.

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Dolores Park Construction In Overdrive

Back in June we reported a lot of exciting stuff was about to happen with the Dolores Park Improvement. Well it’s begun.

Let’s start with tomorrow morning, 4 AM. Yes 4:00 o’clock, in the as it’s still dark 4 AM. The contractors will begin to pour the floor of the new maintenance building near the corner of Church and 18th. We are told to expect some noise. Yo Vinny!

DPW Moving the Liberty Bell, July 9, 2014.

DPW moving the Liberty Bell, July 9, 2014.


New cement is in for the 19th Street promenade.

Today, the Department of Public Works relocated the Mexican Liberty Bell (replica) slightly closer to Dolores Street. Check out this great time lapse video of the Mexican Liberty Bell moving into its new home!

We also have big pours going on for the new 19th Street promenade, the North Side Restroom and the MUNI bridge stairway.

As always, I get all my news from Rec and Park and the project management team, Jake Gilchrist and Cara Ruppert. Jake tells us that the construction company has been very diligent in keeping the project from adversely impacting the neighborhood. For example, extra care was taken to wet down the site during Pride Weekend. If there are any concerns or complaints as this project moves forward, we have been asked to give them a call.

Forms for the MUNI Bridge Stairway.

Forms for the MUNI Bridge Stairway.

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City Budget Success!

With some support from Mayor Lee and marathon negotiations at the SF Board of Supervisors, The City budget now includes a big increase in staffing to keep parks safe, with 17 out of the 25 staff requested for Park Patrol, plus $100,000 more for tree maintenance. This is not everything asked for in Scott Wiener’s Safe, Clean, Green and Safe Budget enhancement package, but it goes a long way and we are declaring  victory. After years of budget cuts and stagnation for the Parks Department this is a breath of fresh air.

“Keeping our parks and public spaces clean, green, and safe is a basic municipal responsibility, yet City Hall hasn’t prioritized this need in the city budget,” said Supervisor Wiener.

The final budget also includes $750,000 more for doubling Dept. of Public Works staffing to clean public space, adding another crew to keep transit stations and surrounding areas free of debris, waste, and graffiti. Thanks to Supervisor Wiener for the original proposal – and thank you for all your calls and emails to support a cleaner, greener, safer San Francisco!

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