To start 2013 off right, we got in touch with acting Rec and Park supervisor for our Area 6, Adrian Field and asked for an update on Dolores Park maintenance and operations.
First, vandalism and graffiti continue to be a problem, Adrian reports. Most of the major problems in the new playground date from mid-December when the xylophone was damaged for a second time and the hammers for the tubular bells cut. Both repair projects are now at Rec and Parks Structural Maintenance Department.
Adrian tells us that this Structural Maintenance is, “undergoing some changes in the work order system and an updated system should be in place soon.” The xylophone and some of the other new playground equipment also may be under warranty and their funding source for repair is also a “new public/private collaboration”. He goes on to state, “we hope to have the repair side of things running relatively smoothly by our busy summer season; which is it seems right around the corner.”
Two of the “ground strip lights” that light the entrance, also have had work orders placed some time ago, some work has been done, but not yet completed.
Other then the damage to the music garden and the lights, the playground and landscaping look in great shape and graffiti free.
Staff is trying to address abnormal wear and tear in several locations. In the new playground, the gardeners are currently focusing on the pyramid hill (center of playground) to try and renovate the problematic landscaping and consequential erosion. They are also replacing mulch in as many areas as they can.
Adrian states his biggest problem of late is the real wear and tear on very over saturated turf. “Things seem to be drying a little now,” he said, “But there has been some real turf damage.” You can see the light fencing on the South Lawn to protect saturated turf and the lawns are worn a little thin.
I asked if he thought Rec and Park and SFPD have an adequate plan to help reduce park damage. “I think it would be fair to say that we could use more assistance than we are currently receiving. That goes for the Mission area in general.”
Vandalism of the new Dolores Park Playground began while the Playground was still under construction and a security fence was still up. In late January 2012 the contractor tractors were damaged and the plants for the playground were thrown around. On the same evening tree branches were cut, and lampposts smashed. In early February vandals struck again, damaging the contractors’ replacement equipment. March 23 Captain Moser of the SFPD reported this “I am happy to announce that the Department’s Graffiti Abatement Unit along with officers from Mission Station has arrested three individuals for the January vandalism of Dolores Park.”
The attacks have not all been to the new playground. On October 2, 2012 vandals chopped a deep gouge into one of the large Washingtonia Palms, near 20th and church. It leaned over the MUNI tracks, and had to be removed.