A tiny start to a very ambitious project got underway when Rec and Parks installed a few new sycamore trees in Civic Center Plaza, though this lofty landscape design has been stalled for years.

If you’re a fan of San Francisco outdoor spaces, it may excite you that today is Golden Gate Park’s 154th birthday. But it may excite you a lot more that across town, in Civic Center Plaza, new sycamore trees were just installed in what KPIX reports on as a grand new landscape design for the plaza, a redesign that is rich with many more trees.  

The above KPIX segment details the addition of the first few new sycamore trees Rec and Parks just installed as part of this plan. Admittedly, there are only four new trees being added to the current batch, some of which are going on 90 years old. These sycamore trees are recognizable for their unique shape most noticeable when they're leafless and they've been pruned, and they got their moment of fame in the 1978 Donald Sutherland horror classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers during that film’s climactic scene.  

Image: United Artists

But as KPIX explains, there are big plans to add a lot more trees and significantly beautify the plaza.

Image: CMG Landscape Architecture

"The biggest goal of the plan is to reintroduce vegetation on a grand scale," founding partner of the redesign firm CMG Landscape Architecture Willett Moss told the station . "In addition to the existing 350 trees, add another 300 trees."

Image: CMG Landscape Architecture

The website for this redesign looks very exciting! But let us throw cold water on all of this by pointing out that these plans were adopted way back in 2019, and there is little progress to show for any of the efforts.

The recent addition of the UN Plaza skate park is a sign of the often-shifting, inconsistent visions for remaking that outdoor area. And as KPIX points out, “There have been 10 different plans presented for Civic Center over the past 50 years. Two a decade.”

So if you want to see new trees in the Civic Center area, your best bet for the near future may be just enjoying the beautiful but fake LED trees that will remain in UN Plaza for the next couple years.

Related: And Just Like That, UN Plaza Becomes a Skate Park [SFist]

Image: CMG Landscape Architecture