An Open Letter to Rec and Park

Dear Sir,
We need your help and leadership concerning a worsening set of problems in Mission Dolores Park.
After hours vandalism, increased homeless camping, public intocication, underage drinking, out of control trash and occasional violence continue to plague the park. Now that the good weather is here, these issues have reached a critical point. Every hot weekend we host an impromptu festival at Dolores Park. The park is known region-wide as the place to party, where there are no rules, and no repercussions for bad behavior.
The neighborhood has been tolerant, welcoming and patient. But we are convinced that there’s an opportunity to begin to address these problems now, during the park renovation, so as to avoid more of the same after the park is finished.

If we are to make the park truly welcoming to all, we need to curb some of the sunny weekend excesses that are both damaging the park and the surrounding neighborhood.

Dolores Park Works, Supervisor Scott Wiener and other concerned stakeholders are actively working to find constructive and innovative solutions. Here are three for your consideration:

Trash pile in front of the new playground, 6:30 pm March 16, 2014

Trash pile in front of the new playground, 6:30 pm March 16, 2014

- Extended Rec and Park presence in Mission Dolores Park on weekends during peak hours. Beginning in the afternoon (noon to 4pm) the crowd arrives and Rec and Park pulls out. Daniel Perea, Captain SFPD Mission Station, has increased uniformed police foot patrols in the park, especially after 3pm and into the evening. Marcus Santiago, of the Park Patrol, is looking into increasing patrols from his officers. Both departments are working to coordinate their efforts. We’d like you to support these efforts and to find the resources for Rec and Park to participate in this collaborative effort. Rec and Park must take a leadership role and help monitor Dolores.
- Trash Plan The sheer tonnage of trash, and the fact that much of it is left overnight, is causing a serious public health hazard. There is a major rodent problem spilling over into the neighborhood. And dangerous debris — such as needles, bottle caps, cigarette butts, broken glass, BBQ charcoal, etc.– is also a hazard to the kids, dogs and the fitness groups who visit the park every morning. One of the most innovative, cheap and effective remedies to the Dolores trash problem has been the weekend trash monitor. A non-profit employee, funded by Recology, the trash monitor is responsible for organizing and bagging trash left at the many trash cans along Dolores and 20th streets. Along with the late afternoon pickup from Recology, this program has done wonders. Adding two more trash monitors to cover the inside of the park from noon to 8pm on the weekends may be all that’s needed now to return order to this chaotic scene.

Recycling and bottle sorting on the lawn by playground March 16, 2014

Recycling and bottle sorting on the lawn by playground March 16, 2014

- After hours Security As you know, vandalism of the new Helen Diller Playground and throughout the park is a serious concern. We would like to help fund and install security cameras around the children’s playground. We are also interested in discussing more lighting around the children’s playground and adding a time-locked gate. Maybe now is also the time to take a good look at the proposed lighting plan for all of Dolores Park as well. The preservation of Dolores Park is a key part of our mission and we are urging that action be taken now to redues park vandalesm.

A deep cut from an ax or a machete totaled a Dolores palm in 2012.

A deep cut from an ax or a machete totaled a Dolores palm in 2012.

 

Maintaining clear communication, aligned goals and resource commitments are vey important to us as I’m sure, they are to you. Time is of the essence. Best results from this letter would give us a written management plan that articulates both the issues and solutions for the Dolores Park warm season 2014 -no later June 1st. We could then  share this plan with ever expanding Dolores Park patrons.

Thank you for your time. We look forward to hearing your thoughts on these issues.

-Dolores Park Works

About Robert Brust

Dolores Park Works Co-founder

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