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New life for a skateboarding landmark

There's the aerial, the kickflip, and the ollie, the tailslide, railslide, noseslide, and the McTwist. But in many neighborhoods, the toughest trick in the book is simply finding a place to skate. 

That's true even in San Francisco—a city that looms large in skateboarding history. In the early days, its winding streets and steep terrain made it an enticing urban obstacle course, and its waterfront plazas drew some of the best and boldest skaters in the world. But as these hotspots became off-limits to skating, the action moved to skate parks—like San Francisco's first, Hilltop Park in the Bayview.

Today, Hilltop and its iconic "Dish" are in need of a major makeover. Building on success in skate parks at Jesse Allen in Newark and Atlanta's Historic Fourth Ward, The Trust for Public Land is working with the Bayview community to revitalize Hilltop for the next generation of skaters and their families. 


In addition to revamped skate features, the new park design includes a playground, walking paths, room for picnicking, and a Fitness Zone® exercise area for adults: the makings of the true community gathering place long missing from the Bayview. In this dense and diverse neighborhood, poverty, crime, and high dropout rates are an ongoing challenge. More than 40 percent of households here include children—kids who need a place to play. 

"If there was a good place to skate at the park up the hill, me and my friends would actually go there to skate. More people make the place feel safer."

—From a Bayview youth focus group.

After a year of community meetings, design drafts, and park cleanups, we're well on our way to restoring a landmark of skateboarding's past—and brightening the Bayview's future.


Special thanks to The Trust for Public Land's key partners: San Francisco Recreation and Parks, Parks 94124, Miller Company Landscape Architects, Mack5 Construction Management, Grindline Skateparks, and amazing skaters and park enthusiasts!