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By Brittany Doohan

As part of the Dolores Park Rehabilitation Project, Castro District’s favorite place to hang out in the sun will be going through a bit of a revamp. In an effort to preserve the historic park — which is eligible for the National Registry of Historic Landmarks and needs to be protected according to California law (CEQA) — the San Francisco Planning Department has proposed several major changes (exciting!).

According to the SF Planning Department’s notice of Intent to Adopt a Mitigated Negative Declaration, these changes include:

  • Reconfiguring the existing athletic courts and constructing a new 7,200-square-foot multi-use court adjacent to the reconfigured athletic courts near the northwest corner of the park.
  • Removing the existing restrooms and portable storage containers located near the center of the park and constructing three new buildings: a restroom located adjacent to the southeastern side of the Children’s Playground; a second restroom along with a 1,013-square-foot paved plaza located near the reconfigured athletic courts; and an operations building and reinforced concrete platform with a crawl space built beneath the new location of the basketball court. The new operations building would be adjacent to a new service yard and driveway from 18th Street.
  • Reduction in approximately 0.8 acre of grass or turf and providing new markings for two existing off-leash dog play areas. New ADA accessible ramps, access paths to the internal circulation system, and design changes, will also be added.
  • Repaving the Muni tracks within the park, removing the chain link structure on the existing bridge over the tracks, placing planters over and adjacent to the abandoned Muni stop under the bridge and over the stairs leading to it, and relocating the Muni shelter for the Muni stop at 20th Street and Church Street.
  • Vegetation removal and plantings, grading, upgrades to the drainage and irrigation system, and adding new signage, lighting, bicycle parking, benches, picnic tables, and trash receptacles.

Dolores Park Tree Plan:

There have been no major objections to these specific changes, but one concern that was generally agreed upon was the sensitivity of planning and publicizing construction. In response, most people agreed to split the construction over two phases (which will shorten the length of the construction period by four to six months). The project will move forward in two six-month stages beginning this October. In the first phase, the portion south of the promenade will be rehabilitated and construction will begin on all new buildings. In the second phase, beginning March of next year, the northern half will begin construction. These two phases will allow the project to move quickly and ensure that one side of the park will be open to the public (for continued sunbathing and frolicking) at all times.

What do you think about the new changes for Dolores Park?