What’s really going on with the renovations? Just the facts please.

Ever played a game of telephone as a kid? The sentence starts out “My mother hates to wash my dad’s sweaty socks.” and by the time it makes it to the last person, the sentence is, “Motorsports makes me want to swerve.” There’s no logic left and it’s nothing like the original. Well, I think we have a little bit of telephone going on here about this whole “closure” of Dolores Park, so please allow us to share the facts with you and set the story straight.Let’s start with where we got our information. We contacted Nicolas King with Supervisor Dufty’s office, Rec and Parks Departments project manager Mary Hobson and referred to the trusty PDF provided by RPD. Now, let’s get into the specifics and answer some of your burning questions.

How did this come about?

This is not exactly new news. On February 5, 2008, 71% of voters approved the 2008 Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks bond “to address the significant capital needs of the City’s open space system.”  This bond funds parks, trails and recreation centers. We just forgot about it and never made the connection to Dolores Park.

How long will the park be closed and how will the work be done?

The renovations will be done in phases. The whole park will not be closed or fenced off for the duration of the renovations.

Phase 1: The playground remodel, which has been in development by Friends of Dolores Park Playground, Supervisory Bevan Dufty’s office and SF Rec & Parks since 2006. It is scheduled to start in October 2010 and end in April 2011. Please note that this work will be done in the “off season.” The rest of the park will be available during this time if safe access can be provided.  YAY!

Phase 2: Rec and park now estimates construction on the rest of Dolores will  begin around December 2011. Initial estimates, and I do mean initial, put this phase at about 16-17 months.  This is a liberal estimate. You know the mantra – under promise and over deliver.  From what we’ve heard so far, it doesn’t look like the park will be closed for the entire time. The goal is to limit the impact on the community while ensuring that the work is done efficiently and safely.

What are they going to do?

Here is just a preliminary glimpse at what you’ll get at the end of that time.

  • Repaved tennis courts
  • New and improved bathrooms
  • A clubhouse (that thing above the bathrooms)
  • Functional water sprinkler system
  • Upgrades to irrigation, lighting, and sprinkler system
  • Improvements to accessibility
  • Reconditioning of the park’s landscape

Park and Rec will try and minimize the park’s closure. We’ll know more once the final designs are completed.

The playground, for those interested in being a flying monkey, will be open for the duration of the Phase 2 construction.

Why does the park need to close at all?

You can’t redo plumbing one pipe at a time.  To redo the park’s underground infrastructure, you’ve got to dig some holes, use some big machinery, and make a mess. Then you have to fill the holes, plant some seed and watch it grow. Think about the plumbing in your home. You’ve got to turn off the water, tear down the wall, get out tools to take stuff apart and then put it together using the new materials right? Well, then you have to rebuild the wall. Now let’s say you were going to do all that and have a massive party? Would that be very safe, No. Now, visualize that on a much bigger scale.

Nobody really wants Dolores Park to close, especially us. We love love love Dolores Park, but we’d also like to see enough clean and modern bathrooms so that we don’t have to wait in line for 30 minutes just to enter the bathroom where a gas mask and gloves are required.  The irrigation system for the lawn is shot and the paths are crumbling. The grass is a patchwork of weeds and dust. Overall, this park  is long over due for some major fixes.

What’s going on now?

Right now, the second bond sale that will fund the design phase is before the Board of Supervisors. The funds should be available in March. It typically takes about two months to do the research and preliminary designs. Then Rec & Parks will go out into the community to solicit input.  The first community meetings will probably start in May or June and Rec and Parks usually hold about 3 meetings over the course of 4 months.  The community will be involved in the park’s design. That’s You!!

What role will Dolores Park Works play?

I’m so glad you asked! If you look at our goals, you’ll see that one of them is to “Provide community feedback to Rec & Parks on the park’s functionality and advocate for improvements.” We will be in touch with Rec and Parks and Supervisor Dufty’s office throughout the development process. We’ll be at every meeting. We will be your one stop news source for all things about the renovations. We will also be soliciting input from the community on different issues so that we know what is important to you and can advocate on your behalf.

I can tell you now that we plan to advocate for a phased approach for the park’s renovations. For example, can they do the repaving of the tennis courts and leave the park open? Can the majority of the infrastructure work be done during the off-season?  We want to be out there just as much as you do.

How can I be involved?

  1. Sign up for our mailing list, subscribe to our blog and join our Facebook page.
  2. Spread the word. Invite your friends to join us.
  3. Participate in the discussion online and attend community meetings
  4. Give your time to park clean ups and the organization. (A volunteer needs section will appear on our website very soon).
  5. Donate. For example, one of our objectives is to have port-a-potties out this summer over the weekends. YAY! We are fiscally sponsored by the Neighborhood Parks Council. To donate, please go here and under “fiscal sponsorship” find Dolores Park Works. We’d be most grateful.

Thank you!

Note: This post has been amended  to show the estimated start time for construction on the Park as a whole (December 2011). We regrete any confussion this oversight may have caused.

Share Button

Thanks for shedding some truth about this park closure.


Thanks for shedding some truth about this park closure.


I Love You, Dolores, and will Love you even more after your face-lift!


I Love You, Dolores, and will Love you even more after your face-lift!