Following recent controversies, including debates over vendors in Dolores Park, the nonprofit Neighborhood Parks Council launched a user survey on Sunday aimed at capturing public sentiment regarding Recreation & Park Department operations.
The survey is available online here, and hard copies can be requested by calling 415-621-3260. Spanish and Cantonese translations are in the works, and will be available online within a few days.
Among the specific issues raised are park officials’ community outreach efforts; recently developed plans to generate revenue, such as the granting of vendor permits in Dolores Park; and proposals to lease park recreation centers to keep them open to the public in spite of department understaffing.
The council’s executive director, Meredith Thomas, said that many neighbors have expressed frustration that there isn’t enough opportunity to give parks officials feedback.
“People are showing up the Rec and Park Commission meetings. They have two minutes to make a comment, and then the decisions are made.”
Thomas cited a number of contentious issues that have faced parks citywide of late, beyond the now-infamous Blue Bottle incident. Garfield Park, for example, has struggled to find a way to keep its recreation center open; it is currently closed to the public due to lack of staffing. Similarly, the Hayes Valley playground clubhouse, which recently underwent $2 million in renovations, also sits empty due to parks department staffing issues.
“There are clubhouses like it all over the city that have either been closed or leased,” said Thomas. “People want to talk about it.”
The Recreation and Park Department was made aware of the survey, she said, and even offered a few questions it was interested in receiving feedback on.
But, she added, the survey is being conducted independently, and its main goal is to get honest opinions from as wide a net of park patrons as possible.