Jane Warner Plaza, long a source of frustration for Castro neighborhood residents and merchants because it almost immediately became a magnet for homeless youth (and nudists) after it was established in 2009, will be seeing the return of its tables and chairs as well as some other improvements this year and next thanks to a city grant. As Hoodline explains, the $150,000 grant to the Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District (CBD) comes from the city's Invest in Neighborhoods program, and the ways in which it's being used were announced yesterday. The biggest items: daytime "stewards" who will monitor the plaza and keep it clean 50 hours a week, and a LED lighting installation that will brighten it up and add some public art to the space.
Castro CBD director Andrea Aiello explained that they put out for bid a creative lighting solution to various Burning Man artists as well as the organization behind the Bay Lights, Illuminate the Arts, and the winning proposal, pictured above as it will appear at night, is called "The Seed." It's the work of Los Angeles-based architecture and art collective Aphidoidea, and its expected installation timeframe is spring 2017.
The Plaza Stewards will be arriving sooner, though it's not clear when, and they will be contracted through Larkin Street Youth Services who are already well versed in dealing with homeless youth. The stewards' responsibility will include landscaping and cleanup, enforcing the smoking ban, and greeting and assisting performers from the expanded events program, as well as food vendors. Also, presumably: interacting with the homeless kids who will inevitably pass through the area, and possibly guiding them to services. A steward will be on site from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, beginning on a date TBA.
The tables and chairs that originally dotted the small plaza were removed in 2013 in order to discourage loitering and ersatz camping by the homeless, who were also occupying benches in Harvey Milk Plaza across the street. Those benches were also removed.
Also, the plaza will be getting repaved in the next two months with more durable pavement that can withstand frequent power-washing.