Dolores Park Community Needs to Take One More Good Look at Reno Plans

I am convinced we now have a good plan for the rehabilitation of Dolores Park.  There will be more changes, but the 10.20.11 Draft Plan, is a good prediction of the Dolores Park of the future. There are two elements however, that I believe are worth going to the barricades over, restoration of the Gay Terrace and blocking installation of barriers across the great fields.

The two fields, North and South are the key defining features of the park. Any effort to rehabilitate or preserve Dolores Park should keep this in mind. There is now on the plan, in an attempt to protect the disabled and the children from off leash dogs, a wall of posts, chain and benches across the South lawn. This must go. It is not only an affront to the beauty of Dolores, but an impediment to using the space for large civic events.  I, along with several other participants have voiced my concern about the South Lawn barrier, but I am afraid this will not be enough.

My second concern is the encroachment of the new playground on the historic terrace.  I am also convinced that upon completion of the playground, some grading will be necessary to restore Gay Beach. If you would like to see these concerns addressed, please write to

Some changes to the plan are already in the works. At last Thursday Community Workshop participants strongly supported the sacking of the old Clubhouse.   We should also expect to see new proposals for the 19th Street entrance and the Promenade. Many were disappointed to see that all of the previous ideas for the Promenade had been scraped in favor of historic preservation.  I vote for giving them one more look. Not so clear, is the outcome of continuing arguments on the north side dog play area and the north side paths. We will see.

I am very happy with the list of the community’s accomplishments so far-

  • Located and designed the Maintenance Building
  • Design improvements to the Athletic Courts
  • Added new Multi-use Court
  • Designed Western Edge Improvements including the removal of the old MUNI stop, bridge cap and improved entryways.
  • Planned North Field Improvements
  • Located and designed two new Restroom buildings
  • Upgraded park accessibility
  • Removed most vehicle traffic and parking
  • Removed Southwest path and old clubhouse for additional open space
  • Added new picnic areas
  • Designed small viewing plaza/overlook with benches at 20th and Church.
  • Benches for the 20th Street path.

“We have shown an aptitude for compromise and cooperation that has often been seen in Dolores Park itself, but rarely at the community meetings.”

Two great ideas for the sport court toilet. Community conscious went with option 2.

Two great ideas for the sport court toilet. Community consensus went with option 2.

We also have a copy of a Tree Plan for Dolores. From my quick study, it also looks like a good start. I believe the line of new palm trees drawn next to the tenis court will be rethought. Very few trees are marked for removal. One large Canary Palm will be moved out of the way for the new path, but saved. The iconic tall Mexican Fan Palm near Dolores and the clump of crocked Peppers Trees at the top of the park have all been tagged as “prone to failure” but I hope Rec and Park knows they are especially loved, deserving of extra care, and will be protected.

Please take a good look at the Tree Plan, as well as the latest Draft Rehabilitation Plan and an Amenity Plan that locates benches, trash cans and bike racks let us know what you think.



About Robert Brust

Dolores Park Works Co-founder