In the heart of the Tenderloin, a remarkable transformation

By Trust for Public Land
Published December 11, 2014

In the heart of the Tenderloin, a remarkable transformation

Few places need a good park more than the Tenderloin. In the densest of San Francisco neighborhoods, many residents live in single rooms—making public open space critical to the community’s health and happiness.

For years, the site that should have served as a local hub was anything but. Though it sits in walking distance of 50,000 potential visitors, the grim and imposing design of Boeddeker Park offered few options for play and did little to discourage crime. 

But at the re-opening celebration earlier this week, there was little to suggest the park’s past. Shouts from a basketball game mixed with the chimes of a giant xylophone as grinning schoolkids swarmed a new climbing structure. Neighbors toured the remodeled clubhouse, Fitness Zone® area, and garden. There’s still a perimeter fence—but it’s now threaded with wrought-iron flowers. 

Design in the details: from custom art to a vibrant garden.

For the neighbors who’ve watched Boeddeker’s transformation, the opening was the culmination of a long fight for the park they deserve—including an extensive community workshop process to identify the features locals wanted most. But though there’s plenty to impress in the final product—from green infrastructure elements to custom artwork— Boeddeker’s reinvention is more than a textbook entry for good design. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee put it this way:  

“It’s not just about the space—it’s about the people. It is a tremendous investment in equity.”

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