In a sleepy corner of Bayview-Hunters Point, the city’s grand plans for the India Basin Coastal Park are beginning to take shape.
Construction workers have nearly completed the environmental remediation of the first phase of what will one day be a 64-acre waterfront park. When complete, the more than $150 million park will connect 1.7 miles of the Bay Trail and feature a boat launch, multiple sports fields and facilities, a natural playground and plenty of access to the water – an increasingly important asset as San Francisco heats up. .
Overall, India Basin Shoreline Park represents Bayview’s “Crissy Field moment,” said Phil Ginsburg, San Francisco‘s general manager of recreation and parks, during a recent site visit. “We’re really trying to make sure the South East gets the attention it’s long deserved.”
The project, whose first phase is expected to open in late 2024, has been in development since 2014, when the City acquired most of the beachfront property. Since then, Rec and Park has conducted an intensive community outreach process, including including residents of the 2,500 nearby public and affordable housing units.
Darryl Watkins, a rising senior at San Jose State University who grew up in Bayview, was hired by CCS, a consulting firm working on the project, to help lead community meetings.
“They wanted to make sure everything was done the right way,” Watkins said of the attendees at the eight meetings he helped organize. “This new park is going to have a lot of attraction from outside our community. So we want to make sure that our community members are not kicked out. That was probably the most important thing in every one of those meetings.
Rec and Park heard that message loud and clear.
The India Basin project “was born out of mistakes New York City made in creating the Highline, which is a fabulous space, but it unintentionally triggered displacement and destabilized the existing community,” Ginsburg said. “Our goal is to create a black space that is designed by and serves the existing community.”
The result of these efforts has been equitable development To plan created by 20 community leaders from Bayview. The plan states that the project will hire local black-owned contractors and locals will operate concessions like a Chrissy Field Warming Hut-style cafe in historic Shipwright’s Cottage. The project will also provide workforce development programs for construction workers, artists and gardeners.
The $150 million project, which will likely rise in price due to inflation, Ginsburg says, will also bring about $10 million in “off-park” investments, including financial literacy classes, a neighborhood shuttle and a free program of swimming lessons for young people and families. it’s already in progress.
The environmental remediation of the first phase is expected to be completed this summer. Unlike the former military shipyard at nearby Hunters Point, there was no radioactive waste to remove from the India Basin shipyard. But there’s still a long way to go before the full 64-acre park is complete.
The eastern segment, known as the “big green,” will begin once BUILD Inc. begins its fully approved, Development project for 1,500 housing units. Another challenging task will be moving a PG&E transformer to the west side of the park, which the utility has already committed to do. An even larger PG&E processing facility adjacent to the park that currently blocks downtown views may one day be moved and the land added to the park.
The project, which is funded by a 50-50 mix of public and philanthropic fund, has yet to raise about $40 million from donors. It is a daunting challenge, but not without precedent. Donors recently donated about $27.5 million for Francisco Park at Russian Hill and $24 million for the Golden Gate Park Tennis Center.
At India Basin, however, donors will not have their names on a plaque. Instead, they’ll choose the name of a community-selected hero to be honored in the park. “We want the community to feel that this space truly represents them in every aspect,” Ginsburg said.
For “Uncle” Bob Pinkard, a neighborhood fixation which has owned and operated Surfside Liquors for nearly five decades, the new nearby park “is another sign of gentrification, let’s face it. But that’s okay,” he continued. “It’s good to have a park there. Change in most cases is good.
Pinkard hopes visitors to the park won’t just walk past his store like some of the new residents of the Hunters Point redevelopment, who “go through the day not realizing they’re walking past a diamond in the rough.”
Its main concern is to stay in business long enough to take advantage of park visitors and provide them with a benefit in return. “Hopefully I’ll be here long enough for them to get all the love I have.”