Another group of selfish, thoughtless, and this time particularly reprehensible Dolores Park patrons have inflicted further damage to a park under construction and in flux. According to KTVU, on Friday park maintenance staff found the sandbox at Helen Diller Playground — a $3 million project completed in 2012 — to be full of dozens of broken bottles. The area was taped off and no injuries have been reported.
"This is just beyond the pale at this point," San Francisco Recreation and Park Department spokeswoman Sarah Ballard told the channel. "Somebody just trashes it without regard for safety." Less than two weeks ago, vandals broke into the under-construction north half of the park to inflict $100,000 of damage to the park, in part by hot-wiring a construction vehicle. Then, last week, in unrelated news, a group of guinea pigs were abandoned in the park.
In the most recent incident, late-night drinkers smashed dozens of bottles against a retaining wall by the sandbox. Because of the number of bottles, 20 tons of sand needs to be replaced, and about a week is needed for the cleanup.
“There were a lot of parents with kids who did not get to use the sandbox today,” Recreation and Parks Director Phil Ginsburg said to the Chronicle “Parks are sacred spaces and as a community we all need to be a little angrier about this.” Supervisor Wiener added that, “In the upcoming budget process, it’s a high priority for me to seek a significant expansion of park patrol.”
While half of Dolores remains under (delayed) construction, a portion of the parking crowd has had clear difficulty in peacefully sharing and respecting the area. In addition to these recent incidents, I'll add that, anecdotally, it's been particularly cramped and lawless lately on sunny days. But will the answer necessarily be, as C.W. Nevius would have it, just more cops and park rangers all the time?