Cash from a voter-approved bond measure to create new parks and recreation opportunities in underserved communities will contribute to the creation of a new park in San Francisco.
San Francisco will get $8.5 million from the State to transform a former industrial lot in India Basin into a waterfront park. Additional funding for the India Basin Shoreline Park Restoration Project includes a $25 million donation from the John Pritzker Family Fund and $4 million from the state budget secured with the help of Assembly member Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee.
The grant will go toward recreation features envisioned by community members at the future India Basin Park. Improvements include gathering docks for people to socialize along the restored shoreline; an accessible walkway and stairs to connect Bayview-Hunters Point with the expanded park, gardens and natural habitats; a public plaza for fitness classes, performances, and farmers markets; a lighted bicycle and pedestrian path that will close a gap in the Bay Trail, linking the Embarcadero to Candlestick Point; and an ecological education area where visitors can observe tidal mudflat habitats and native birds through small paths, decks and viewing platforms.
“With this funding from the state, we are one step closer to a beautiful, waterfront hub for recreation and ecological education in the Bayview,” said Mayor Breed. “This project is true environmental justice for residents of the southeast neighborhoods and will be an incredible place to visit for everyone in San Francisco.”
“Parks are not a luxury. They’re tangible reflections of the quality of life within a community. I’m thrilled a state and local partnership will result in the transformation of an under-served San Francisco neighborhood and offer its residents what’s available in other parts of the city: a place to connect with others and enjoy public recreation,” said Assembly member Ting.
The funding comes from Proposition 68, a $4 billion bond passed by California voters in June 2018 to ensure parks are safe, properly managed and accessible to everyone. Cities applied for the grants through a competitive process, and the state received $2.3 billion in requests for the available $254.9 million in this round of funding.
The project site at 900 Innes Avenue is poised to undergo restoration of tidal marsh and wildlife habitat. This restoration is the first step in a plan to revitalize and unite a series of existing and poorly conditioned waterfront open spaces into a 10-acre seamless design. Once complete, it will provide unrivaled recreational access for 2,500 units of public and affordable housing, either existing or planned, within one mile of the future park.
“I’m extremely pleased about this investment in our community. Parks are essential to our physical, mental and emotional health,” said Supervisor Shamann Walton. “This design was shaped by the hopes and desires of the Bayview-Hunters Point community and reflects our arts, culture, and traditions. It will be amazing when the vision of this park is realized.”
“The India Basin Shoreline project is the result of many different stakeholders coming together to invest in preserving and activating our public waterfront,” said Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who also serves on the Bay Restoration Authority. “These grant dollars ensure the public’s sustained access through everything from safe bike paths to a public porch and gathering spaces. This investment is a recognition that our public parks are intended to be communal spaces accessible to everyone.”
“India Basin is a once-in-a-generation park project for San Francisco—an opportunity to create a beautiful green space on the coastline for neighbors in the southeastern neighborhoods to socialize, connect with nature, and enjoy the outdoors,” said San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “I’m so pleased that California’s voters recognize the importance of parks to the health of communities and am grateful that India Basin was among the beneficiaries of their wisdom.”
A key goal of the India Basin project is to serve as an anchor for equitable and inclusive economic growth. Local youth and adults are being trained by nonprofits to work on both the remediation and construction.
The India Basin waterfront project, passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in October of 2018, will combine the abandoned industrial site at 900 Innes Avenue, which the City acquired in 2014, with two existing parks that border it: India Basin Shoreline Park and India Basin Shoreline Open Space, both of which would undergo significant improvements.
“For the first time in history, San Francisco has the opportunity to develop a park that prioritizes equity for the community in every aspect of the project,” said Jacqueline Flin, Executive Director of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, which works for civil rights and fair labor practices and is among the project’s partners. “This project has inspired us to dream about a future where our families can grow. By engaging residents and encouraging folks to get involved in the development process, we have established a hope that these investments will directly support the Bayview community and restore a once economically strong and thriving shoreline.”
“California State Park’s $8.5 million grant to the India Basin Shoreline Park project not only helps build an incredible park, but it is an investment in San Francisco’s Bayview community,” said Diane Regas, President and CEO of The Trust for Public Land. “Together with the community, we are doing more than designing a new park—we are building community, strengthening the neighborhood for the diverse residents of today, and a rolling out a new model of equitable park development.”
Chinomnso Okorie, a youth leader who grew up in the Bayview and currently lives across the street from the project, was among the neighbors whose input guided the design. “It is a huge opportunity and I really love being a part of this project. I see myself as being a role model by helping show other young people how to lead by example and apply themselves to the community,” said Okorie. “The health, education and job skills this park will provide can be used to improve the future of this community. This park provides a creative outlet where youth can develop mentally and physically by creating a platform to explore beyond the boundaries and dream of infinite possibilities.”
Proposition 68, also known as the California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access for All Act of 2018, is the state’s largest investment in grant funding history targeted for underserved communities. The bond also provides funds for aging infrastructure, amenities and improvements to parks that will help attract new and diverse visitors.