Notes from Dolores Park Meeting, 2010-03-03

by Alex Chaffee
Dawn Kamalanathan
Planning and Capital Manager Director
 -- including construction

Mary Hobson -- manages production and timeline
  -- neighbor (Church & 22)

First launch of design process
late April

Today: what bond and process is about, meet people

Adrian Field
 - supervisor of gardeners
Bevan Dufty 
 - SF Supervisor
Bob Palacio
 - supervisor for Neighborhood Services rec&park
Phil Ginsberg not here

Nancy Gonzales - Friends of Dolores Park Playground

Rob Lord, Robert, Gideon, ? - Dolores Park Works


Bob: articles caused "confusion"
2008 Bond - 
$13M into Dolores Park
Project 1: $1.5M for playground + $1.5M from Mercer Fund
Project 2: whole park renovation

wants stakeholder feedback
transparency/input on process

people feel passionately about the park
no park that inspires the passion that Dolores Park does

Sgt Tim Fowley
 4pm - 2am
Officer Chris Putz
 graffiti abatement unit
 $50K/yr removing tags just in Dolores Park (!)
Q for police from a public defender: don't want to see homeless people arrested
A: don't have contact unless in response to a complaint, usually an arrest means that there was a warrant

Park hours: 6am - 10pm

Q: drug use on bridge is much reduced
A: thanks recent undercover drug busts

Q: crosswalk at Church
A (Bevan): will talk with SFMTA and traffic people

Q: 19th and Dolores needs better traffic calming, esp. during rush hour
A: will get a meeting with someone from traffic to discuss options
no stop light because people would blow through it

Q: events => crime in neighborhood. A neighbor had his house broken into during Red Bull event.
A: problem with money for staffing -- dept is stretched thin, big job just to police the event

Bob: limit to 2 major events per month in summer
Red Bull was too big; will not happen again
police now using CompStat

Q: what counts as a major event?
A: film, dyke march, derby... etc., anything with >500 people, or people from other neighborhoods
3rd major event will be allowed if enough good input from community

Q: film night well organized, cleaned up after themselves

Q: small events like Shakespeare have trouble getting permits, so a blanket policy is suppressing "heart of the community", they have to jump through hoops
Adrian: we are very attuned to small community events
Bob: we've tried to streamline application process, but we do ask for more information. People were signing up for 40 people and 500 would come...
Adrian: trying to get a better feel

Q: unplanned musical events -- people put up speakers and blast loud music
Bob: call 311 -- amplified sound without permit is not allowed
or call Bob (he'll give us his cell #)
Q: i'm a homeowner who lives in the mission, I think often small bands/DJ sets are making people happy
Q: spontaneous music makes Dolores Park Dolores Park

A little scuffle between an oldser and a hipster:
H: "How long you've lived here doesn't make you an expert on the park"
O: "I know the park better than you"
Bevan quieted them down

Officer Chris: graffiti
Q: should we call 911?
A: Probably not if it's just one, but call 911 if they're tagging a bunch of stuff in a row.

Officer Chris: taggers get community service, standardized offer from DAs


Q: have you enlisted taggers to create murals?
A: yes, but most of the time they want their tag to stay up, so cleaning quickly makes them move. SF art commission is working on public/private art spaces. But the truth is that we can't allow graffiti vandalism to spread through our neighborhoods.

Bevan "the difference between graffiti and art is opinion"

Moving on to renovation

Planning Director at Rec & Park
Bond 2008 gives $13.2M to dpark

"the voters have given us a mandate; we must deliver that renovation"

plus $1.5M gift specifically for playground
Playground Renovation - Mary Hobson
Steven is architect, has drawings

total $14.9M

"Mission Dolores Park is being loved to death"

Goals for renovation:
* persistent drainage and irrigation problems -- "unless"
* bathrooms need more capacity, and ADA accessibility
* paths need better ADA 
* recreational features need "spiffing up" -- to last for the next 30 years, to withstand the use and and love
  * tennis courts
  * off-leash dog area needs visual cues

"We don't want to change the things you love about Dolores Park"

Design changes will allow us to stretch maintenance $$ even farther

Tonight's meeting is a welcome and a sneak preview to show people how to participate in the process

Basic process:
* talk to public
* inventory of needs and concerns
* repeat back to public to make sure we have it right
* prioritize needs and concerns
* draft designs -- come back with several different designs
* get feedback, build consensus around one design
* go back and refine design
* bring "final" design to Rec & Park Commission, then another round of feedback
* Mary Hobson (Project Manager) (probably) takes project, does more detailed engineering design -- things can still change as you learn things during engineering design

Late April / early May will formally launch process
Want to aggressively utilize social networking resources
Will be mailing lists etc.

Bond provides for audits on expediture of funds - [a bunch of acronyms I didn't catch]

Playground - closed from October 2010 - April 2011
rest of the park will remain open during Playground construction
design pretty much fixed -- has been approved by Rec & Park Commission

Full park renovation -- construction will not start until Jan. 2012
Lots of time to think about staging
Don't want to make a commitment about staging since not all issues are on the table yet

"We've heard the concerns about phasing and we don't want to make a commitment tonight, but we're open to the conversation."

Bevan: Even issues like will the clubhouse be renovated or rebuilt, and what bike polo players need.
"An inartful comment in the paper about closure of the park sparked something."

Q: park is our back yard, therefore part of our property values
A: (kind of offtopic) department has learned a lot about spending bond money to do rec projects

A: a lot of construction contractors are bidding; will probably ask bidders to propose staged and unstaged plans

Q: want phasing not to be left until the end, until other decisions are made

Q: is there some proposal, where did the report come from
closing for a year+ will disrupt local community, business, momentum
A: the only thing specified is the goals in the bond proposal, 

"there's a bar for construction that shows beginning and end; I'm not sure how it was represented that the department had decided the whole park would be down for a year. We do have a goal for when we want to start and finish the process."

Q: Is there going to be a price tag associated with specific proposals during the community process?
A: Yes, we want to have a lot of community interaction for prioritization

Q: Yes, Park is our lifeblood. 
"Phasing is what most of us want"

Show of hands: ENTIRE ROOM said phasing was desired, no one said they wanted it to be closed completely.

Dawn asks: if choice between 3 years of construction vs. 8 months of total closure...?
There will be tradeoffs, probably not that one, but that's what we'll

A: Conceptual schedule on web site is based solely on an order of magnitude of the construction budget. It has nothing to do with actual construction since we have no decisions yet. 
Once we have an idea after a few months of discussions, I will hire a construcability review by a contractor -- if I were doing this, this is how long it would take and this is how much it would cost. E.g. One phase, this much, this long; two phases, this much, this long; three phases, this much, this long.

All details are related to each other.

Q: How will the budget be spent in each phase?
A: Planning and design component $2M, remainder for work
 -- 25-30% of total is "soft costs" -- project management, design, engineering, architect, arborists, surveyors, hydrologists, 
75% of total budget is "in the ground"

Q: Is it possible to be a vote, not a decision by Rec & Park?
A: I don't think I've ever had a 100% vote in my entire career. I'll bring this back to the Rec & Park

Q: Lindsey --
noone knows where out invisible dog play area is
This was approved in 2005 January
Rec & Park has never put up a sign directing people entering the park
Area 1: SW corner hill
Area 2: Hipster Hill
neither area is exclusively dogs or exclusively hipsters

Q: Can we have historical displays?
A: Will reach out to Historical Society of SF. 
Gideon: I'm working on a history of Dolores Park. Was a Jewish Cemetery, was an earthquake refugee camp, etc.
Bevan: In Eureka Valley Rec Center, I was able to get plaques to mark historical events
Jeff Louie: Jewish Genealogical Society, has pix of cemetery "There's still occasional sightings of tombstones"

Q: Have you been approached by other organizations, matching funds, options to increase budget
Bevan: Dolores Park Works has been soliciting small donations.
Dawn: Rec & Parks has "partnerships and revenue" division, how to maximize assets, make more money off many facilities. Want to encourage partnerships.

Steve: check in with Park's web site for non-misinformation
misinformation hurts donations
bond money is for capitl improvements, but not maintenance. Can someone donate for maintenance?
Bob: Dolores Park Works is working on fundraising
DP Children's Playground
Both have work days.

Dolores Park Works: trash, tagging, bathrooms, work with rec and park
got 12 new trash cans, some are recycling [applause]
will probably have to do fundraising
may want to do mural on clubhouse
cleanup this Saturday 10-12, another 3/27

Q: J Church will keep running?
A: Yes.

Q: [Person who broke story] -- Rec & Park didn't return my calls; Bevan's office was very responsive

Q: What do you envision a closed park looking like from the exterior?
A: no answer -- wide variety

Q: How much did we spend on a PR department?
A: we issued an RFP for all bond projects, it's a "not to exceed" amount $400K for 12 projects and X city-wide programs. We're deciding case-by-case how much outreach is necessary.
Davis and Associates. Responsibilities: produce and distribute materials, translation, web site.

Next meeting: start talking about design June

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