En Español

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:

View Larger Map