Eyes on the Street: Alamo Square Park is Open Again!

Kids out playing with Alamo Square Park's iconic 'Painted Ladies' in the background. All photos Streetsblog/Rudick
Kids out playing with Alamo Square Park's iconic 'Painted Ladies' in the background. All photos Streetsblog/Rudick

It was a long wait, but neighbors and tourists alike finally get to enjoy one of San Francisco’s most iconic spots, Alamo Square Park. “Thank you for your patience,” said Phil Ginsburg, SF Rec & Park General Manager, during an opening ceremony this morning. “Neither Herculean, drought-busting rains or even the Bay to Breakers run would stop us from opening.”

Alamo Square Park closed around this time last year for a $5.3 million renovation to update the irrigation system, build an ADA-accessible restroom, and “landscape the entirety of the park,” according to a release from the city. “This will save 2.5 million gallons of water per year,” said Ginsburg, of the newly installed systems. He also said most of the hard work is now out of sight and underground.

Rec & Park's Phil Ginsburg
Rec & Park’s Phil Ginsburg

Although the park is now officially open, there’s still some work to be done. Some of the planting fields are still just dirt patches waiting for mulch and flowers. Andy Kuschner, a captain with the SF Rec & Park’s apprenticeship program, was instructing a group on how to go about planting the next set of flowers. The department is putting in a wide variety of native plants, including manzanita, baccharis and yarrow. The idea is to maintain a broad color pallet of flowers.

Shaw Sevenski and Andy Kushner telling Rec & Park interns where and what to plant.
Shaw Sevenski and Andy Kushner telling Rec & Park interns where and what to plant. Well, they were doing that, before they noticed Streetsblog taking a photo

So what do the locals think?

“I love it,” said Regina Chapman, who has lived nearby for 40 years, “I was homesick for the park.” That was pretty much the sentiment of everyone who came to check it out and enjoy the sunshine. Julian Nachtigal and Gina Wang were also impressed. “New irrigation, native plants, they bought more trees, a new bathroom… I wish the tennis courts were back but they were needed,” said Nachtigal. That’s because the tennis courts are still being used to store planting materials, at least for a little while longer. “But it’s just wonderful to have our park back.”

Gina Wang and Julian Nachtigal were loving the trees in the newly opened park
Gina Wang and Julian Nachtigal were loving the trees in the newly opened park

John Morse, who also lives in the Alamo Square neighborhood, said he was just “so happy to have the sounds of children and dogs again… it’s been a long year.” Christine Nycz, who lives across the street from the park on Fulton, said her dog Adi is very excited. Adi wasn’t alone: the park was practically overflowing with overjoyed dogs, running around, thrilled to have their park back.

Christine Nycz and her dog Adi
Christine Nycz and her dog Adi

Of course, tourists were back, taking snapshots and selfies in front of the iconic ‘Painted Ladies.’ And kids were out too, running around, enjoying the sun, and spinning hula hoops–some big kids were using hula hoops too, such as Chapman in the photo below:

Regina Chapman doing the hula
Regina Chapman doing the hula

Back at the opening ceremony, Supervisor London Breed, whose district encompasses the park, thanked the city workers and the neighborhood resident-volunteers for their help. And then she announced that there was nothing left to do but “get out and play!”

The presser/opening ceremony.
The presser/opening ceremony.

The city has already scheduled a series of events, including playgroups for infants and toddlers on Monday, May 29 and the return of the Alamo Square Flea Market on Sunday, September 10. For a full list of activities, check out the Alamo Square neighborhood web page.

More pictures of the opening day below.

Four legs or two, everybody was excited to have their park back
Four legs or two, everybody was excited to have their park back
Yvonne Gallot was there for the toddlers. A little face paint anyone?
Yvonne Gallot was there for the toddlers. A little face paint anyone?
The last of that hated fence is getting taken away and should be all gone by the end of the day
The last of that hated fence is getting taken away and should be all gone by the end of the day
This great view of San Francisco is once again available for all to enjoy
This great view of San Francisco is once again available for all to enjoy from inside the park

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