Contractors began installing a permanent fence around the perimeter of McCoppin Hub last week, enacting plans, which date back to 2015, to close the public plaza at night. The fence is meant to put an end to the homeless population’s use of the hub for sleeping and alleged drug use by making it accessible during daytime hours only – a model already in use at the nearby skatepark and dog park.
Not everyone is happy about the eight-foot-tall, black-painted metal fence going up around the plaza. When the contractors showed up to begin work on it, they found two wooden signs hung up in the plaza that seem to be making fun of the neighbors’ complaints that the homeless population is making the park dirty.
One reads, “Welcome to McCoppin Sewer: The Most Pisselegant Park in San Francisco.”
The other, larger sign reads, “Welcome to McCoppin Pigstye Histerical Landmark: Winner of the Pissbucket Award Three Years Running, and also Winner of the S.F. Pisselegant Trophy in 2004.”
A passerby, who lived in the neighborhood, said he believed a homeless occupant of the plaza had created the signs. He expressed worries that the fence would block off the park for residents or might even end up fencing sleeping people in.
Responding to complaints, District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim secured funding for the fence that is being built in a collaboration with the Department of Public Health and Public Works. A temporary fence has been up around the plaza since February.
The idea to enclose the plaza received a mixed response from the community. Many have argued the fence is necessary to curb the nighttime activity that makes it hard for neighbors to enjoy it. Others believed closing the hub is discriminatory to the homeless population that sleeps there.
Since its renovation in 2014, getting people to the plaza has been hard; the U-Haul store next door doesn’t draw much neighborhood traffic to the plaza, and efforts to bring in food trucks, such as the popular Off the Grid event, have failed because of the lack of foot traffic.
One of the men installing the fence, Ricardo, said the work would be done by the end of the month.
“It’s kind of a nice park,” he said, “but it’s kind of…They don’t take care of it. They need to take care of it.”
Thanks to Michael Petrelis for tipping us off.