Yesterday we told you about the construction that began on the new turf soccer fields adjacent to the Beach Chalet in Golden Gate Park, not 12 hours after preliminary election results came in showing a majority of voters had come out in favor of Prop I, giving Rec & Parks the mandate they needed to move forward on the project.
A competing proposition, Prop H, failed at the ballot box Tuesday as well, showing that voters fall more to the side of building more soccer fields that people want to play on as opposed to making sure they're all made of natural grass (which is not as easily maintained).
As of Thursday, the pro-new-soccer-fields, pro-turf camp held on to an 8-point lead which seems pretty insurmountable. However there were still 46,000 provisional and mail-in ballots left to be counted, as the Examiner reports, and former soccer mom and anti-turf activist Kathleen McCowin thinks that's enough reason to halt construction and await the complete count. "This is vandalism on a large scale," says McCowin to CBS 5, who began a one-woman sit-in Thursday morning which has attracted a couple of other supporters as of this morning. "They could at least have the grace to wait until San Francisco voters have spoken."
The fact is, however, that the project had all the necessary approvals to move forward, legally, and the decision to await the outcome of votes on Prop H and I was a policy one. As Matt Dorsey, spokesman for the City Attorney's office explained to the Ex, "It would not have been illegal before the election, and there is nothing to prevent the work from going forward."
"It's taken longer than one would expect to build a soccer field!" says Sarah Ballard, spokesperson for Rec & Parks. "This has been approved by the Rec and Park Commission, the Planning Department, the Board of Supervisors, the California Coastal Commission and now the voters essentially three times [in 2008 and twice this year]. It's a thoroughly vetted and studied project."
In addition to four full-size soccer fields, the project includes new lighting, picnic tables, a viewing area, a small play structure, and new bike parking.
Below, CBS 5's video of McCowin's protest on Thursday, and shots of the construction.