It was pretty cool that the Department of Recreation and Parks found a way to keep half of Dolores Park open during renovations — as you doubtless know, work on that park's southern half is now underway while the recently redone northern portion is back to business as usual. But no such fate awaits Alamo Square, as Hoodline reports from a meeting of the Alamo Square Neighborhood Association. Despite early plans to use that same half-closed, half-open model, the photogenic if occasionally quite windy San Francisco park with views of downtown will likely close in its entirety for half a year.
December 2015 through July 2016 is the estimated window, so enjoy some balmy fall weather gazing out at the Painted Ladies while you still can.
As many parkgoers notice, Alamo Square is overdue for restroom and irrigation upgrades. It also wants for improved, drought-friendly plant life. Such renovations have been on a wish list since 2012, and a plan was finally developed for the improvements last year. But for budgetary reasons — re-sodding alone will cost $1.9 million — and due to logistical constraints, construction is best done all at once.
In fact, only two contractors bid on the original, half-closed, half-open plan. The lower of those two bids was $300,000 over budget, and the feedback was clear. Though it would keep neighbors and dog-owners happy, it would also take twice as long and cost significantly more money. Hence the current plan, which contractors (hopefully more of them) will again bid on this September.
But, hey, it could be worse! Alamo Square's original development was a lot more difficult, in part because of giant rocks and in part due to land-grabbers. I'm referring to the account of local journalist Edward Morphy who wrote that the area was, in the late 1800s, "a primeval forest of rocks at the top of hill." Though designated as a park-to-be in 1868, it still had to be defended by a "succession of city attorneys" against various claimants who insisted on personal ownership of the land.