Controversial McCoppin Hub, Popular Homeless Hangout, Now Fenced Off

A temporary fence has been installed around McCoppin Hub,  a public plaza at the intersection of Valencia and McCoppin streets and a point of contention among neighbors and city leaders because of its popularity among the homeless.

Hoodline first reported that the temporary hurricane fencing had been installed around the plaza. A permanent fence will be constructed “as soon as the materials come in” said John Gavin, the SF Plaza Program Coordinator with the City’s Real Estate Division, which currently manages the plaza and is heading up the construction project.

The contractor was given the green light to begin construction at the hub on Monday, and a temporary fence was installed on Tuesday, confirmed Public Works spokesperson Rachel Gordon. The agency will be involved in the project by assisting with “construction management,’ said Gordon, adding that the project contractor is allotted up to 90 days to complete work at the hub.

Gavin said that the hope is that the fence’s construction will be completed sooner than that.

“The sooner the better, so that people can enjoy the open space again,” said Gavin, and projected that the plaza will reopen in early spring.   

While the permanent fence’s design plans were not immediately available, Gavin said that the plaza’s fence will be “similar in style as other fences” at the nearby skatepark and dog park. The fence will be locked at night, and McCoppin Hub’s hours of operation are proposed to mirror those of the nearby parks, from sunset to sunrise, but the community will still have opportunity to weigh in once construction is underway, said Gavin.

“Through the community [outreach] process we found that there are different opinions on the hours for the time being,” said Gavin, adding that the agency is “open for more community input as we discuss this further.”

Gavin said the agency also hopes to work with the community to “replant” the hub during a community landscaping day as construction nears completion, although no date has been set. “Those plants have seen better days,” said Gavin.

Plans for permanently fencing off McCoppin Hub and regulating its access and hours of operation were introduced last summer as a response to growing neighborhood discontentment over the underutilized hub, which eventually drew an increasing number of homeless individuals.

Some neighbors reported witnessing drug use, loitering and intimidation when attempting to make use of the hub, once designated as an event space, and called on the city to step in – but others denounced the idea of constructing a fence around the public plaza as discriminatory at a public meeting held in 2015 to discuss the possibility of constructing a fence.

District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim secured funding for the fence, and initial plans included removing some of the Hub’s blocks and chains, installing a fence and two gates for vehicles to enter and three gates for people to enter.

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