Balboa Park Reopens with New Playground and Community Art

August 18, 2012

SF Rec and Park Department (RPD) in partnership with The Trust for Public Land (TPL) celebrated the grand opening of Balboa Park on Saturday, August 18th, 2012, showcasing that community involvement and strong partnerships are keys to creating a special public open space. Supervisors John Avalos, Sean Elsbernd, and Scott Wiener joined ribbon cutting ceremony. The public enjoyed barbeque and music at the opening. There were also tennis clinics, sports activities, games, arts and crafts for children and families.

Before the renovation, the "playground was unsafe and the park was uninviting to many members of the community," says New Mission Terrance resident and father, David Mauroff. "Fences with overgrown ivy made it difficult to see the park from the street, and recreational amenities, such as the playground swings, were in disrepair.

The community celebrated Balboa Park with new amenities including a new play area for school-age children with play equipment donated by the Exploratorium, renovated tennis courts, a new picnic area, new landscaping, walking paths, and new art elements.

The Trust for Public Land, in partnership with the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, led a design process involving the community. Local residents chose recreation elements. Mauroff said "the important piece of this project is that the design of the park comes from us, the families and residents of this community."

In addition, art students from nearby Denman Middle School and Lick Wilmerding High School designed and built mosaics they installed with a local artist in the park. Additionally, several residents raised money for six new trees, and helped plant them.

"Balboa is one of San Francisco's oldest parks and now, with all these great changes and renovations, it will be one of the city's newest parks," said Jennifer Isacoff, Director of The Trust for Public Land's Parks for People Bay Area program.

The total budget for the Balboa Park renovation is an estimate of $3.5 million funded by the donors through The Trust for Public Land, and San Francisco's General Fund, the 2008 Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond Community Opportunity Fund and the former Community Challenge Grant Program. The Balboa Park renovation is the second of three park improvement collaborations between SF Rec and Park and the Trust for the Public Land as part of a unique Initiative spearheaded by generous support from five San Francisco based companies—Banana Republic, Levi Strauss Foundation, McKesson, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, and Wells Fargo. The other two projects are Hayes Valley Playground which was completed and opened in 2011, and Boeddeker Park in the Tenderloin with construction scheduled for this fall.

"SF Rec and Park is truly grateful for The Trust for Public Land, donors and community members, for their dedication in helping to make Balboa Park a safer and cleaner community hub for San Franciscans," said, Phil Ginsburg, SF Rec and Park General Manager. "In an era when city government can no longer do it alone, we are thankful for their collective effort."

Other supporters include The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, Union Bank Foundation, MetLife Foundation, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, Charles Schwab Foundation, Walter & Elise Haas Fund, and The David B. Gold Foundation. Additional support has been received from Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund and Louise and Claude Rosenberg Jr. Family Foundation, among others.

The Trust for Public Land, created in San Francisco in 1972, protects land and creates parks and playgrounds. In the Bay Area, the non-profit organization has created or improved more than 110 neighborhood parks and natural areas. For more, visit www.tpl.org.

Banana Republic, a division of San Francisco-based, Gap Inc., is a global accessible luxury brand that delivers modern, soulful and effortless style. For more information on Gap Inc. community investment, please visit www.gapinc.com/socialresponsibility.

The Levi Strauss Foundation, established in 1952, is an independent, private foundation that is grounded in the pioneering legacy and values of Levi Strauss & Co.: originality, integrity, empathy and courage. The Foundation supports programs that advance justice and provide opportunities to improve the lives of disadvantaged people in places where the Company has a business presence.

McKesson Corporation, is a healthcare services and information technology company dedicated to making the business of healthcare run better. McKesson partners with payers, hospitals, physician offices, pharmacies, pharmaceutical companies and others across the spectrum of care to build healthier organizations that deliver better care to patients in every setting. For more information, visit www.mckesson.com.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation, is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation's cleanest energy to 15 million people in northern and central California. www.pge.com/about/.

Wells Fargo & Company is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.3 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 9,000 stores, 12,000 ATMs, and the Internet (wellsfargo.com). In 2011, the Company invested $213.5 million in grants in 19,000 nonprofits, and team members contributed more than 1.5 million volunteer hours around the country. For more information, please visit:www.wellsfargo.com/about/csr.