The playground at Dolores Park was filled with parents and children Friday morning, enjoying the last few weeks of fun on the play structure before the Helen Diller Playground closes down for renovations in mid-June for three months.
“That’s going to be tough, because the summer!” said Amy, a mother of three who was initially surprised to hear that it would be closed until mid-September.
But, like other parents at the playground, she understands that renovations are a good thing in the long run.
During the closure, the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department will install synthetic turf on the flat area, and rubber on the sloped portions of the playground.
“The kids call this the ‘big park;’ it has all the activities and is a mix of kids,” says Teresa Skelly, who came to the park with her brother, Connor Skelly, and his two kids. They take the J train from Balboa Park to the playground because they like it so much.
But she says, “It has gotten a lot of love, so I see the need [for renovations].”
This closure comes at a time when many parents and teachers are looking to encourage their children to play outdoors, due to Covid-19 risks.
Catherine Cook and Jena Rogers, both sixth-grade teachers at Thomas Edison Charter Academy, were only able to see their students in person for four weeks this year. Today was the second to last day of school, so they brought a small group of students to the playground at Dolores Park to enjoy the outdoors and play together.
“They are so happy to get out, and they are having so much fun socializing,” said Cook.
One of the kids had told Rogers: “it is just so nice to be at the park!”
The Dolores Park Ambassadors note that Mission Playground at 19th and Valencia, Eureka Valley, and the recently renovated Christopher Playground in Diamond Heights will provide an alternative to children looking to play during the closure.
But some parents say the nearby Mission Playground is dirty, and that they have found human feces in the sandbox there.
Dalia Gonzalez, a Mission resident who cares for a young girl told, pointed to a drum toy that was cracked at the top, as she pointed and explained in Spanish that “the playground needs repair, and that as long as they’re going to open it again, it is good.”