Community Celebrates India Basin Park (CA)

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, 10/27/03-California State Asemblyman Mark Leno, San Francisco City and County Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, and Eizabeth Goldstein general manager of San Francisco’s Recreation & Park Department joined the Trust for Public Land (TPL), and residents of the Bayview Hunters Point community Saturday to officially reopen India Basin Shoreline Park along San Francisco Bay. The park’s once limited amenities have been transformed into a vibrant neighborhood park with the addition of a basketball court, two playground areas, a 30-foot long embankment slide, benches and trees, and a local youth initiated public art project.

The project was funded through the voter approved Proposition 12; the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund; the California State Coastal Conservancy; the city of San Francisco’s Recreation, Park and Open Space Fund, Mayor’s Office of Community Development; and Department of the Environment; San Francisco Conservation Corps, Friends of the Urban Forest, India Basin Neighborhood Association, and the Trust for Public Land’s Lackmann-Soulages Open Space Fund. The India Basin Shoreline Park project is part of Trust for Public Land’s Community Parks and Playground Program, which works to improve, create, and protect urban open space in the San Francisco Bay Area. The program seeks to cultivate community interest and participation in park development and to build sustainable, community-supported parks.

“With the help of our community partners, public agencies, and our funders, TPL works to a create quality public parks to help revitalize neighborhoods, link residents to nature, preserve diverse cultures and history, and create a sense of place,” said Reed Holderman, executive director, the Trust for Public Land – California. “India Basin Shoreline Park is an excellent example of what collaboration can bring about.”

The newest additions to the park-a look-out point, benches, trees, swings, a multi-purpose ball court, play structures, and a superslide-were completed in October by the Trust for Public Land. TPL also will install a resource-efficient “green” restroom and storage facility in 2004.The park also includes a portion of the Bay Trail, a proposed 400-mile regional hiking and bicycling trail of which 200 miles are already completed. This trail will link the park with other neighborhoods along San Francisco Bay.

“From the beginning, this project depended on forming close ties with the India Basin community,” says Joe Ingenito, TPL’s manager on the project. “We presented the project to community groups, mailed project-update newsletters, conducted surveys, and sponsored community clean-up days and barbecues. We also set up a hotline and hired three residents from the community to let people know about the plans, every step of the way. This park really is a product of dedicated Bayview Hunters Point residents.”

Working with the community took time and patience, according to Deborah Schoenbaum, director of TPL’s Urban Program. “Our programs are targeted to reach neighborhoods in some of our most underserved and challenged communities in the Bay Area. This project was special because those most likely to use the park-the elderly and children-took the lead in developing the concepts for its design,” Deborah says. “That is really at the heart of our urban program-bringing communities together to improve the environment they live in. We are just the catalyst. The residents of the community are the heroes.”

TPL brought together young people to play important roles in the park’s design and construction. Teens from the San Francisco Conservation Corps planted flowers and installed the play structures. And eleven children from the India Basin Public Art project-with the help of artists from Southern Exposure-designed the park’s three periscope structures, which offer views and stories about the history of the shoreline and neighborhood.

Founded in 1972, the Trust for Public Land specializes in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiation, public finance, and law to protect land for public use and enjoyment. TPL has protected more than 1,500,000 acres nationwide including more than 24,000 acres in the San Francisco Bay Area.