George Christopher Park Opening: Mayor’s Press Release, GPA Blog, Photos and Project Spotlight

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Wednesday, April 28, 2021
Contact: Mayor’s Office of Communications, mayorspressoffice@sfgov.org

*** PRESS RELEASE ***

LONDON N. BREEDMAYOR

MAYOR LONDON BREED ANNOUNCES REOPENING OF

REMODELED GEORGE CHRISTOPHER PLAYGROUND

Kids welcome new play equipment and nature exploration area in the Diamond Heights park
following renovation.

San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today announced the reopening of the newly
renovated George Christopher Playground in Diamond Heights. Mayor Breed was joined by
Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, the Recreation and Park Department, Public Works, and kids
from Noe Valley Nursery School and Eureka Valley Arts to cut the ribbon on the $5.2 million
renovation of the site, located above the northeastern rim of Glen Canyon.

The new play area at George Christopher Playground features structures for both big and
little kids and includes swings, a whirl, and an imagination garden with a bridge, playhouse,
and stepping stones. A dry riverbed nature exploration area supports imaginative play. New
safety surfacing has also been installed.

“Safe, engaging playgrounds and accessible parks are essential for the health of our
children and our communities,” said Mayor Breed. “We’re investing in our children, families
and seniors by updating neighborhood gems like George Christopher Playground so they can
continue to shine. Thanks to the support of so many neighbors and organizations over the
years, this community now has a wonderful new space to enjoy.”

The renovation of the beloved 6.8-acre park also includes improvements to its pathways,
landscaping, lighting, drainage, and irrigation systems. An improved design focuses on safety
and connection of the park’s elements. A small amphitheater has been transformed into an
accessible plaza with views of the playground. Fencing has been expanded around the east
side of the clubhouse, which houses Noe Valley Nursery School. The clubhouse restrooms
have been reconfigured to a new single user accessible restroom, a gender-neutral, multi-user
restroom has been made more accessible, and a ramp has been installed from the playground
to the outside restroom.

Steps from the updated playground, two pieces of mid-century play equipment have been
preserved as a climbable modernist sculpture garden. Concrete Saddle Slide by sculptor
Jim Miller-Melberg and metal Pleasure Dome by sculptor David Aaron were part of the
playground when it opened in 1971 and are examples of the experimental Creative Play Design
movement of the 1950s and 60s. A third piece in the garden is a replica of Miller-Melberg’s
concrete sculpture Playwall.

1 DR. CARLTON B. GOODLETT PLACE, ROOM 200 SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA 94102-4681 TELEPHONE: (415) 554-6141


Christopher Park Playground Opens After Remodel Link:

https://www.glenparkassociation.org/christopher-park-playground-opens-after-remodel/
 
By Brynna McNulty, Friends of Christopher Park

APRIL 29, 2021 BY BRYNNA MCNULTY, FRIENDS OF CHRISTOPHER PARK

Playground photos courtesy of SF Rec & Park

George Christopher Playground in Diamond Heights has reopened after a near
two-year, $5.2 million renovation and park improvement project. The 6.8 acre park
is tucked between the Diamond Heights Shopping Center and the northeastern rim
of Glen Canyon. The park improvements include a new playground, resurfaced
pathways, lighting, drainage, and irrigation systems. The clubhouse restrooms
have been reconfigured into a new single user accessible restroom and a gender
neutral multi-user restroom.

The project, which broke ground in late 2019, was shaped by feedback gathered
through neighborhood meetings, community surveys, electronic voting, and
outreach at the “Where in the World is Christopher Park? Festival,”
a free community event to raise awareness for this park.

With improved accessibility and visual connection between spaces as guiding
design goals, the park amphitheater has been transformed into an accessible
plaza with views of the playground, and a ramp to connect the playground to
the new accessible restroom. Pathways connecting the Little Red Hen Community
Garden and Christopher Park have been resurfaced. The tennis court will be
resurfaced and new lighting installed as a future project phase.

The renovated playground features play areas for both big and little kids and
includes swings, climbing structures, a whirl, and an “Imagination Garden,” a
concept developed by landscape architect Jasmine Kaw, who led the SF Public
Works design team for this project. Nature-based play enthusiasts from the Noe
Valley Nursery School, located in the Christopher Park Clubhouse, asked Rec and
Park to draw upon the natural surroundings of Glen Canyon in the new playground
design.

This was a fit for Kaw, who is a member of San Francisco Children and Nature, a
citywide collaborative working to expand opportunities for nature connection in
parks, schools, and neighborhoods. Kaw explains,

“We were excited to integrate a nature exploration area within the playground
footprint, with child friendly plants, a dry riverbed, logs, tree stumps and loose
natural parts to encourage imaginative play, especially for the younger age set.
This is a first for a city park where a large natural play space is directly adjacent
to two structured play areas, giving children more play choices.”

Big Kids play area
South facing view of Big Kids play area. Imagination Garden in foreground
Imagination Garden on right
Sculpture Garden from original playground

Community advocacy created an additional opportunity for creativity in Kaw’s
design, when members of Friends of Christopher Park requested the preservation
of three beloved play structures. This request came as the SF Planning Department
completed design plan review and environmental impact analysis for the project.
The Planning Department took an interest in the original playground and
amphitheater, in part because its 1961 schematic design was by one of California’s
foremost modernist landscape architects, Robert Royston.

Steps from the updated playground, two pieces of mid-century play equipment have
been preserved as a climbable modernist sculpture garden. Concrete Saddle Slide 
by sculptor Jim Miller-Melberg and metal Pleasure Dome by sculptor David Aaron
were part of the playground when it opened in 1971 and are examples of the
experimental Creative Play Design movement of the 1950s and 60s. A third piece
in the garden is a replica of Miller-Melberg’s concrete sculpture Playwall.

The Planning Department completed a thorough review of the architectural
significance of the playground, which included the playground structures
community members were asking Kaw to save.

Friends of Christopher Park researched these artists and were fascinated to learn
that their “play sculptures” were part of the experimental Creative Play Design
movement of the 1950s and 60s. This information laid the groundwork for
community advocacy to save the historic play sculptures.

Friends of Christopher Park requested a safety inspection for the sculptures and
sought support for their preservation from District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman
who, together with prior support from former Supervisors Jeff Sheehy and
Scott Wiener, ultimately secured an additional $552,000 in funding for salvaging
the vintage play sculptures and making pathway improvements, ball field fence
replacement, and new tennis court lighting.

Original play structure

Rec and Park Project Manager Lauren Chavez worked diligently to provide
remaining funding through Rec and Park deferred Maintenance and Open
Space funds.

Thanks to the good work of local contractors Treaty Construction, Kaw’s excellent
design team and Rec and Park’s dynamic project management team led by Chavez,
two original and one replica of the mid-century play equipment comprise a
climbable modernist sculpture garden just steps from the updated playground.
Friends of Christopher Park is delighted that current and future generations will
enjoy these play sculptures, and is grateful for the experience of working with the
project team, the Diamond Heights Community Association, and the Office of
District 8 to make the new George Christopher Playground exceptional.

Mayor London Breed presents Certificate of Honor to Betsy Eddy as
co-president of Diamond Heights Community Association.
Sup. Mandelman on left. Photo: Josh Aberant

Mayor London Breed is fired up about the new playground. 

The usual crowds for a ribbon cutting ceremony weren’t in attendance due to
Covid-19 concerns. But Mayor London Breed, District 8 Supervisor
Rafael Mandelman, and  Rec and Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg,
were among the city dignitaries who brought spectacular weather to the opening
festivities. And excited kids from Noe Valley Nursery School and Eureka Valley Arts
eagerly tried out all the new fun stuff.

“George Christopher Park has been called the best kept secret in San Francisco
for its views and trails that connect to Glen Canyon. Now its playground is among
the most innovative and fun in San Francisco,” said Ginsburg. “This space has been
beloved by the neighborhood for decades, which was reflected in the community’s
enthusiasm guiding this project.

Virtual Diamond Heights Holiday Party, Dec. 19, 2pm. Entertainment, Contests and Prize Drawings

Entertainment, Contests for Best “Craftmas” Decoration and Best Holiday Pet Costume and Prize Drawings!

Join us via Zoom for the Diamond Heights Holiday Party on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2:00 – 3:30 pm. Cameron Partridge, our MC, will introduce our holiday entertainers, speakers, free raffle and contests for the best decoration made from items around the home and best holiday pet costume. Everyone will be on Zoom. 
 
Our fabulous neighborhood residents, Pat Wilder and the duo Eric Beattie and Marymoore Patterson will provide entertainment. Supervisor Rafael Mandelman will deliver holiday greetings.
 
In order to attend, participate in the contests and free raffle drawings, please reply to this message or email Betsy Eddy at 
dhcasf@gmail.com
Please help us by forwarding this message to family, friends, neighbors and your email lists. Thank you!

  • Sign up for the event by replying or emailing Betsy at dhcasf@gmail.com. Betsy will email the Zoom link to you. 
  • Free raffle drawings: All attendees will be entered. No need to stay for the whole party to win a prize.
  • “Craftmas” Decoration Contest: to enter the contest for the best handmade holiday decoration, email a photo no later than Wednesday, Dec. 16. Decorations may be made from items in or around your home. All ages welcome to enter.
  • Holiday Pet Costume Contest: email a photo of your pet decked out in holiday finery no later than Wednesday, December 16. All ages may participate.

Attendees at the party will vote for their favorite “Craftmas” decoration and Holiday Pet Costume.
 
The Holiday Party is brought to you by Resilient Diamond Heights, the Diamond Heights Community Association and St. Aidan’s Church. Please join us for some Holiday Cheer!

SFPD Seeks Info and Videos on Hit and Run that Injured a Pedestrian at Diamond Heights Blvd. and Duncan near Clipper

Wednesday, Nov. 11 at 3:12 pm, a 90-year-old woman suffered injuries in a hit-and-run accident on Diamond Heights Boulevard and Duncan Street near Clipper.

According to reports, a motorcyclist struck and injured the elderly woman. The rider fled the crash scene.

At this time, the police are seeking the public’s help in looking for the involved motorcyclist. Moreover, further description of the suspect remains unavailable.

Due to the crash, the woman suffered life-threatening injuries.

The authorities are urging anyone with information to contact the Police Department’s anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444. They can also send a tip by text message to TIP411 with “SFPD” at the start of the message.

Family Preparedness Training

Saturday, Oct 10, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Webinar

Join your neighbors for a FREE online workshop that will provide your family with valuable information about preparing for a natural disaster. We’ll show you how to write a disaster plan for your household, identify supplies to have on hand, and explain how neighbors can help each other in crises.

This free training will be presented by David Munoz Ventura and hosted by Resilient Noe Valley. David presented several trainings for Resilient Diamond Height earlier in the year. This one hour training will incorporate elements from those trainings.To register for the training go to: 

resilientnoevalley.com and select Events and Training.

Crime Reports from Ingleside Captain Chris Woon

Ingleside Station Captain Chris Woon is our DHCA contact for informing our neighborhood about crime trends and SFPD reports. Diamond Heights has had serious crime incidents in the last several months. See below for two reports provided by Capt. Woon.

Here are some suggestions from the DHCA for taking action to prevent crime.

  • Continue to be vigilant and report unusual/suspicion activity through 311 or 911 depending on the situation
  • Get to know your neighbors. Reach out to at least one person on your street and get to know them. Encourage them to do the same
  • Create an Email, Text or WhatsApp message group for your street so that you can text/email each other in case of emergency
  • Organize a Neighborhood Watch Group. Go to sfsafe.org for more information

 Incident Summaries from Ingleside Station Capt. Chris Woon

Burglary on the Unit Block of Amethyst Way / 09-24-20 / 8:30 p.m. / SFPD Report 200577322 

Officer Cvetovac responded with numerous Ingleside officers on a report of a hot prowl burglary.  Officers were advised by the victim that when she entered her garage in the morning, she observed new damage to her garage door.  The victim then determined that several bicycles had been taken from inside her garage, and that another piece of property taken from the garage had been located a block away from her home, by a neighbor.  The officers determined that an unknown suspect had forced entry through the garage door in order to gain access to the garage, and then stole the bicycles.  Report #200577322 

Shooting on the 5300 Blk Diamond Heights Blvd / 10-01-20 / 10:55am / Report #200590885

Officers Chew, Lustenberger and several Ingleside units responded to the 5300 block of Diamond Heights Boulevard on a shot spotter activation. Upon arrival, they located four spent casings along the street. They also located a vehicle that had crashed and left abandoned on the opposite side of the street. Several witnesses stated they heard the shots and one witness said he saw a suspect shooting at the victim vehicle as it drove down Diamond Heights Blvd. As a result, the vehicle collided with a parked truck. The victim, who was inside the vehicle, jumped out and fled the scene. The Suspect was then seen jumping into another vehicle and fled the scene as well. During the investigation Officers were able to make contact with the victim, who was uncooperative with the officers and the investigation. Fortunately, there were no reported injuries. Report Number: 200590885

Noe Valley Nursery School Update

This is an update from the Noe Valley Nursery School (NVNS). The preschool has been renting the rec center at Christopher Park for many years after moving from Noe Valley. The preschool has some openings. The teachers and students are looking forward to the completion of the renovations to Christopher Park this fall. 

Message from NVNS

Noe Valley Nursery School is excited to announce we will reopen our doors on Monday 31st August 2020 for the new school year! The school will operate in line with SFPHD and licensing requirements. 

All sessions will be based at our school house, located at 5210 Diamond Heights Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94131. We plan to utilise our outdoor space as much as possible, including our two patios and Glen Park Canyon once the children are settled and into a school routine. The school believes in a play-based, child-centered, and developmentally-appropriate philosophy of preschool education. Additionally, we are a cooperative preschool which means our families support in the planning and operation of the school.

Primarily, we will begin with one stable pod of 10 children, but by the beginning of October, we aim to create a second stable pod who will attend on alternate days of the week to the 1st pod. There will be no cross over between children and teachers. Children will attend 2-3 days per week from 9am-1pm. 

We have several open spots available for our second pod. If you or someone you know might be interested in joining us please get in touch with NVNS membership at membership@noevalleynurseryschool.com

Photo of one of our students; happy to be back at Summer School with her loving teachers!

Please help us to spread the word and fill the spaces in our second pod! 

Thank you

Noe Valley Nursery School 

https://www.noevalleynurseryschool.com/

Christopher Park Construction Update

It is exciting to see the progress on the construction at George Christopher Park. It is awesome that the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department has included replacing the baseball fencing and resurfacing the tennis court in the renovations.

Laura Chavez Message on the Construction Progress:

Cheers George Christopher Community,

There has been tremendous progress on George Christopher Playground Renovation this summer. The irrigation mainline piping has been installed, the concrete and CMU walls around the plaza and ramp area are almost complete, and the new plaza has been poured. The new single stall ADA restroom is tiled and painted, and the planters around the play areas have been formed. A couple weeks ago, our contractor started digging footings for the play equipment, and as the pieces come together for layout, you can glimpse how awesome this playground is going to be.

There was little response when I emailed at the start of the pandemic to notify you that one of the Jim Miller-Melberg play sculptures was unfortunately damaged during the course of construction. We’ve been working with the contractor and several committed community members and are pleased to announce that a replacement sculpture will be made for the new sculpture play area. We’ve coordinated with our deferred maintenance team and will be replacing the fencing at the ball field and resurfacing the tennis court in parallel with the playground renovation. The project team has also worked with several city departments to strategize around park accessibility, and we are revising our pathway plans and site signage so folks of all abilities can better navigate to all park amenities.

Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

Best,

Lauren

Lauren Dietrich Chavez

Project Manager, Capital & Planning Division

We Have Moved! After August 5, 2020, you can reach me at:

San Francisco Recreation and Park Department  | City & County of San Francisco

49 South Van Ness Avenue, Suite 1220 | San Francisco, CA 94103

(628) 652-6643  |  lauren.chavez@sfgov.org

Crime Update in Diamond Heights and Glen Park

Gunfire

Last night, Tuesday, August 11, at around 11:20 pm, gunfire coming from cars was heard in two locations. Ingleside Capt. Chris Woon has requested videos that may have captured the gunfire and cars. Call Capt. Woon at 415-404-4040 with any information and/or videos.

The locations:

  • Diamond Heights Blvd. at the intersection of Addison/Gold Mine
  • Elk at the intersection of Chenery

There have been no reported injuries from the gunfire.

Diamond Heights Bank of America Robbery

On Monday, August 10 around 2:30 pm a person robbed the branch and left with money. The SFPD has a good description of the suspect. No one was hurt in the robbery. The investigation has been turned over to the SFPD Bank Robbery Unit. 

Public Safety Meeting with Chief Scott, Capt. Woon and Supervisor Mandelman, July 30

Public Safety: Where We are Now and Where We are Going
Featuring San Francisco Police Department Chief Bill Scott, Ingleside Station Captain Chris Woon and District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman
Virtual Meeting on Thursday, July 30, 7-8:30 p.m.

The Diamond Heights Community Association, the Glen Park Association (GPA) and Upper Noe Neighbors have combined together to present an area-wide meeting. Thank you to the GPA for inviting the DHCA to participate and for organizing the meeting.

If interested in attending this virtual meeting, please reply to Betsy Eddy at 
betsy.eddy@gmail.com. Betsy will email the Zoom link to you a couple of days before the presentation.

Please share this announcement with friends, neighbors and your email lists.
 
All are welcome. Emailed questions will be passed along to our speakers and prioritized, but attendees are invited to put questions in the Zoom chat as well. The GPA intends to record the meeting and post it on its website for those who could not attend.
 
Email your questions to any of the three associations:
 
info@glenparkassociation.orginfo@uppernoeneighbors.comdhcasf@gmail.com

Stay safe and be well,

Betsy for the DHCA