Photo By Helene Goupil

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Dolores Park will be getting what some are calling a much-needed face lift and nearly all of the park will be closed when the major surgery begins in September 2011, officials said.

Construction on the playground will begin late this summer, and while currently still in the planning stages, work on the rest of the park will begin in the fall of next year, according to city officials.

“The park is in dire need of renovation,” said Nicolas King, a legislative aide for Supervisor Bevan Dufty. “The bathrooms are horrible, the bridge is not ADA compliant, and don’t even get me started on the drainage and irrigation in the park.”

The renovations will essentially leave the Mission District without a centrally-located open space for a year and a half starting in September 2011.

Kevin Montgomery of uptownalmanac first broke the story of the park’s closure on January 29 and his follow up can be read here.

The closest large parks are Potrero del Sol near Potrero and 25th streets or Garfield Square at Harrison and 25th streets.  Neither of these parks share the wide open space and proximity to BART and Muni lines that has made Dolores Park increasingly popular.

“People will just have to explore,” said Robert Brust of Dolores Park Works, a nonprofit advocacy group. “Where they will go just depends on people’s needs. For example, I have a dog so I want to go to a dog park.”

The playground will be renovated first in September 2010 though a separate project. Construction is estimated to be complete seven months later in April 2011.

After completion, this would leave a small space for park-goers to still catch a bit of sun while the rest of the park is then shut down for renovation estimated to begin September 2011. The much larger overhaul of the park is expected to take 12 to 18 months, according to King.

The clubhouse, field, basketball court and six tennis courts will be repaired and/or renovated; the roads and pathways, including the pedestrian bridge connecting the park to Church Street at 19th Street, will be restored; and the irrigation, lighting and general landscape will be upgraded and improved.

Because much of the work will be underground, it would be difficult and most likely unsafe to leave sections of the park open during construction, King said. But it is still uncertain how much park around the playground will remain open.

Before the park reconstruction begins, community meetings will be held to allow suggestions for how the park should look, such as the placement of trees and benches.

“The community design process will aid all of us in determining how we ought to use the park together,” King said. “Should there be fences to separate kids and dogs? How much, if at all, should areas be programmed for organized activities and events? Should there even be a clubhouse? How can we use design to minimize graffiti?”

Dolores Park is among more than 200 parks in the city that have been identified under the Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond, which was passed in 2008. The parks have been set in a particular order to be renovated, with Dolores Park next on the list. The estimated $11.7 million price tag of the renovation is part of the $1.7 billion that has been set aside through the bond — the sale of which will be considered at today’s Budget and Finance Committee meeting.

The separate cost of the playground will be $3.25 million: $1.5 million is covered by the Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond and another $1.5 million comes from a donor. The remaining $250,000 comes from the general fund.

Other Mission parks and playgrounds to visit:

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Kimberly is currently a journalism major and business minor at San Francisco State University. Come May 2010, she will be moving on to bigger and better things, i.e. living and breathing journalism, not just studying it. But for now you can usually find her at City Hall every Tuesday at the Board of Supervisors meetings. Having lived her entire life in San Francisco, she itches to travel far and wide, most likely to be convinced that every other city and town pales in comparison.

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  1. ““Before the park reconstruction begins, community meetings will be held to allow suggestions for how the park should look, such as the placement of trees and benches”

    I love this! Community meetings are just that. The Parks and Rec don’t give a rats ass when it comes to a neighborhoods concerns. It’s all about generating cash flow and by their choices, not those that live in the area. A typical day in politics

  2. Dolores Park is being commercialized and treated as a tourist destination. There is no parking to be found, it is becoming dirty, unsafe and overrun if you live in the area. Blue Bottle coffee is setting up a major kiosk in the park with estimated sales of 60k a month. I wonder if the Parks and Rec people ruin their neighborhoods in the same fashion?

  3. I hope they consider putting in a running track around the park. So many people use it for running, that it would be a great addition. How does one make suggestions like this to the powers that be?

  4. Parks are for everyone and is great the lift the are going to do no stop ur bitching Meagan parks are for families too just cause you don’t have one does notean that you can’t be at the park,that you AmericancrazeE. I also agree with you

  5. You know, there are people in this city who, for one reason or another, can’t be very active. Some can only lie on blankets and kill pain, while enjoying watching the activity around them.

    Parks are for everyone.

    This is what’s great about Dolores park: The kids are safe, the dogs are pleasant, the cans are picked up by people who need cash, and it’s all entertaining to watch.

    I just hope they don’t put up more trees, the open plan is what keeps it safe and friendly.

  6. Thank you “AmericanCrazeE” for your comment.

    I think some people don’t realize how negative they’re being. The park is going to be wonderful.

    The makeover is WAY over due. YAY!

  7. It would be nice to hear some good comments instead of people bitching. Be thankful we live in such a sweet city with awesome parks like “Dolores.” This is part of a huge undertaking for SF with similar projects in the works like the Trans-bay Terminal downtown. Parks are not designed for those who drink, leave their cans and wait for pot brownies to make their way around. Parks are designed for active people in mind. Get past your ego’s, and be positive about change! Quit yer bitch’n and get with the program!

  8. “Before the park reconstruction begins, community meetings will be held to allow suggestions for how the park should look, such as the placement of trees and benches”

    Big Dig SF, here we come. The community meetings will be a slugfest, they’ll never have a design that will please everyone. It’s already been pushed back for planning. The community planning will lead to countless blueprints/changes/ votes/ people requiring an area for small dogs, but never getting even close to ground breaking. Similar to the re-design meetings of having areas for dogs only. If it ever does, it will be another 2 years at least and will cost double.

  9. This is going to ruin Dolores Park.

    The only renovations the park might need is new restrooms.

    It does not need to be more kid friendly.

    This may be great for families, but it sucks for everyone else.

  10. How this takes a year is beyond me. I’ve put in sprinklers, put down concrete, installed urinals and toilets, and done various other build and remodels. This taking a year is an other example of the SF’s government in fail mode.

    The newish soccer field above the tennis courts with the patchy grass and holes is a perfect example of the ongoing failure of the people who run this city and how they do business.