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A three-phased plan to renovate and restore San Francisco’s 13-acre Alamo Square Park over the course of six months is undergoing an environmental and architectural review.
The proposed Alamo Square Park project includes the renovation of the existing restroom near the center of the park; the construction of a new single stall restroom near the park’s playground; and a makeover of the park’s landscaping, including the incorporation of water conserving lawn alternatives with a goal of reducing water use in the park by over 2,500,000 gallons a year.
The historic portion of the park’s existing restroom facility which was constructed in 1914/15 will be restored, its metal doors replaced with metal gates designed to reference metal grills of the period. Inside, both the Men’s and Women’s facilities will be expanded with an additional toilet for a total of three on each side.
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The new unisex restroom to be constructed just north of the existing children’s play area will be a contemporary cylindrical design of poured concrete, “intended to play upon the curvilinear shape and concrete perimeter walls of the adjacent children’s play area, integrating it into the park landscape while at the same time articulating its modern era origin.”
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Plant beds at entrances and underutilized sloping areas along Fulton and Scott Streets of the park will receive new drought tolerant landscaping to reduce water demand and areas below dense tree canopies will receive new understory shrub plantings. And after the installation of a new irrigation system, the majority of the park’s lawn will receive all new sod.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Gregg

    I love that San Francisco invests in its parks!

  2. Posted by Jackson

    I agree Gregg;
    however, even with the Parks Bond passed during the Willie Brown administration our parks are still chronically underfunded because the City continues to reduce funding from the General Fund to our parks, in a budgetary shell game.

  3. Posted by New Ugly

    They will take something that is nondescript (as a park restroom) should be and make it shiny, brand new with Bright lights, fluorescent ADA ramps, waxy anti graffiti coatings. the form of the restroom is silly. The rectangular shape is fine. What are the qualifications of these City’s in-house “Architects”? Sigh.

  4. Posted by Invented

    Thousands of tourists enjoy the park each week — how ’bout a cafe which could help with sorely needed projects in the ‘hood (curbed bike lanes, historic lighting, etc.).

  5. Posted by Futurist

    Great project.
    The new restroom is excellent.
    So, New Ugly: you expect us to stay in the 1900’s with a wooden outhouse? Stop complaining.

  6. Posted by BobN

    I wish they would make the new bathroom larger, make it closer to the playground, and embed it in the hillside. They could build a picnic terrace above, extending the existing one up the hill.

  7. Posted by BobN

    You can see in the photo the “crop circles” created by the “new and improved” irrigation that was installed a few years back. They took out the old sprinklers that had successfully watered the park for decades and replaced them with new ones… that promptly caused the whole west side of the park to blow away.
    Sigh. Oh, but some water was saved.

  8. Posted by Rob

    @Invented Divisadero is full shops, restaurants and cafes. The park definitely does not need a commercial feature.

  9. Posted by Joel

    Yeah, Invented. That would be PRIVATIZATION of a PUBLIC resource. You should know better than to suggest a commercial enterprise open up shop on a public park in the People’s Republic of San Francisco. God forbid they make a profit and fund the maintenance of our city’s open spaces.

  10. Posted by Really?

    By Joel and Invented’s logic, we should give all of our parks to private corporations, because that is the only way to pay for the parks. We can fund our parks without giving them away. BTW, you should actually study Chinese politics before comparing them to us. Otherwise, you just sound like an ignorant Sean Hannity parrot.

  11. Posted by james jr

    How many days will it be before some NIMBY group funded by nearby millionaire homeowners files a lawsuit to stop the proposed changes? Bets?

  12. Posted by $an Franci$co

    For what it’s worth, that park back in the day (until the mid 90’s) was cruisy, a bit of a drug market and dangerous as hell at night. And empty during the day. Murders were not uncommon. Note that the picture for this article is backwards versus a map so you’re looking from the north to south meaning the painted ladies are on the lower left.

  13. Posted by Joel

    Did I say we should “give all of our parks to private corporations”? No.
    Did I say that it is “the only way to pay for the parks”? No.
    Look past my soaring rhetoric for a moment and realize that parks can remain authentic and tranquil places to spend time in while providing services that people want. The boathouse at Stow Lake is a great example of this. Lots of people see the RPD as this evil entity with ulterior motives, but really they’re just being realistic. We need to realize that periodic bond measures and budgetary magic tricks will only get us so far in funding our parks.

  14. Posted by Invented

    None of the tourists visiting the park go to or even know about Divisadero.
    Even if just a stand up bar, some local artwork
    ASNA sweatshirts, etc. — take the lead from NYs public/private partnerships. Also many tourists are thirsty, so it’s a logical amenity (beyond the water fountain).

  15. Posted by Far-away

    Many parks around the world include a place to sit and have a drink while enjoying nature / view / respite from urban bustle. Rent (as noted) can go toward park maintenance. Wouldn’t be inappropriate here.

  16. Posted by Arch

    http://arcchicago.blogspot.com/2013/08/mcplazas-privatizing-chicagos-orphan.html
    I visited this tea cafe in a park in Chicago and was very impressed. I can see where this would be very popular at Alamo Square.

  17. Posted by CivicCenter

    What’s the difference between a cafe in the park, and a cafe across the street from the park like the places around mission dolores?
    The NIMBYs are more the issue than anything else. bringing positive activity to a neighborhood always crowds out the undesirable activity.
    We live near the newly renovated Jefferson Square park, formerly known as “needle park.” since the renovation the park has really become an urban jewel. I’ve spent a lot of time with the landscapers in the park, volunteering on weekend cleanups; and I’ve been so impressed with their long term thinking and civic mindedness. Lafayette park also looks amazing after the spruce up; the dog area is a real gift.
    Alamo Square is already a jewel, and I’m thrilled the city will continue to invest in our parks, they are what make us unique and special.
    I’d definitely support a morning/lunch cafe rulli style coffee place up there, what a great idea to take in that view. Gotta watch the wind tho! The bigger issue are the huge buses that drop off tourists, but such is the price we pay to live in one of the world’s most beautiful cities. (couldn’t we demand those buses be green??_

  18. Posted by James

    Union Square and Golden Gate Park are both city parks with cafes in them.

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