It’s now up to voters to decide if they want to continue upgrading and renovating San Francisco’s parks. The Board of Supervisors unanimously sent a bond to the November ballot that, if approved, would give $195 million to various park improvements throughout the city, including upgrades to Garfield Park and Pool.

Garfield Park has been targeted as one of 15 existing neighborhood parks that are frequently used and are wearing down. The bond includes $99 million for renovations to those parks.

Details of how the park and pool would change are not finalized, as the Planning Department must go through a community design process if the bond passes. But potential improvements include demolishing the clubhouse and expanding the pool — or, if the clubhouse stays, renovating it and installing bathrooms that meet the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act and are accessible from the outside. The windows and roof of the pool building might be replaced.

The pool was closed for renovations in November 2009 and didn’t reopen until July 2010. Renovations took longer than expected because the pool’s system is old, parks department representative Karen Mauney-Brodek said at a previous meeting. The complete renovation proposed in this bond would make sure that doesn’t happen again.

Possible renovations to the park, Garfield Square, include an improved irrigation system, replacement fences and fixed-up benches and pathways.

A similar bond for parks and recreation passed overwhelmingly in 2008 and is responsible for projects like the Dolores Park renovations. Many of these were larger, park-wide projects; the 2012 bond would focus on upgrading existing facilities and replacing and improving pools, playgrounds, fields, trees and trails.

The parks department estimates that more than $1 billion is needed for repairs across all 220 of the city’s parks. Matt O’Grady, director of SF Parks Alliance, said the infrastructure improvements needed are closer to $1.5 billion.

“The bond measure before you will take a crack at chipping away at that long list,” O’Grady told the Board of Supervisors at Tuesday’s meeting.

The money not going to neighborhood park improvements would finance other park programs — Waterfront Parks and Open Spaces, Failing Playgrounds and the Community Opportunity Fund. The last allows community groups to apply for small amounts of money to fund neighborhood projects they envision and are willing to work to complete. The plan would fix up trails at Golden Gate and McLaren parks, too.

More information on the 2012 San Francisco Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond is here.

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Hadley Robinson trekked westward from a small town in Michigan to answer the call of the Mission. She loves walking out her front door and feeling like every cuisine, cultural event, friend, opportunity and adventure awaits her.

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  1. Now is a good time to borrow money because interest rates are so low. That said, I’m not voting to borrow or tax one more dime so that Phil Ginsburg can take those dollars, build private park party palaces that none of us will ever have access to while skimping on public-facing aspects of park operations.

    Let the Fisher brothers pay for their hobbies.

  2. I say enough is enough. Bonds for essential things like schools and roads is one thing. Parks are important, but Parks and Rec is stupid and overspends on things like Dolores Park. A city that is as broke as this one shouldn’t be spending what the city is spending on the Dolores Park renovation. Put some budget conscious folks in charge at Parks and Rec who would renovate the parks with a budget in mind or better at getting private donations and I might be more inclined to support this.

  3. This is excellent! As shown by the renovations of dolores park and other playgrounds, this is money well spent and greatly improves the lives of folks in the neighborhood.

  4. It seems like these improvements (along with roads, libraries, and, oh, quality public schools) should be coming out of the General Fund, no? Why can’t this city get its act together…

  5. Really?! Borrowing more money? Do people realize that this money needs to be paid back?
    And where do all my property tax dollars go? And city sales/hotel/convention/everything tax money go? City hall really drives me crazy.

    1. What is your point? Should we neglect maintaining the roof of a city owned building? Selling bonds and paying the bonds back over time is perfectly reasonable. The alternative of building up giant cash reserves to pay in advance for roof maintenance is possible but crazy.