Jackson Park Redo Designs to be Considered by Rec and Park Commission

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Jackson Park clubhouse at the corner of Arkansas and Mariposa streets. Photo: Potrero View Staff

Early this year, Friends of Jackson Park (FoJP) and the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department (RPD) will seek RPD Commission approval of a proposed park redesign. The step follows San Francisco Planning Department endorsement of the plan to restore and relocate the historic clubhouse based on California Environmental Quality Act review. FoJP will launch a capital campaign to raise additional monies for park improvements after Commission consent. 

Funding for park renovation includes $10 million from general obligation bonds and $8 million from development impact fees, as approved by the Eastern Neighborhoods Citizens Advisory Committee, which’ll become available in fiscal years 2025 and 2026. In addition, $2 million has been raised from neighborhood developers. According to Jude Deckenbach, FoJP executive director, these latter monies have been invested in a tiered ladder portfolio of fixed income securities, which contains bonds and certificates of deposit that mature at different times. Varying maturation creates a steady income stream to pay for project expenses. FoJP will relaunch its fundraising efforts after RPD Commission design approval. 

“We also have an additional $4.6 million which was written into the development agreements with the City coming into FoJP’s account with the City in fall 2023. We negotiated for it with the developers and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development,” said Deckenbach. 

Department of Public Works plans to purchase, plant, and maintain 100 trees surrounding the improved park.

According to Tamara Aparton, RPD spokesperson, rising costs due to inflation and supply chain disruptions could impact the pace and level of improvements. 

“We continue to perform cost estimates (and) feasibility (analyses). We value engineering at key milestones throughout planning and design phases of every project to ensure that the project goals are aligned with project budgets. In many cases, for example, we can substitute a lower cost material without sacrificing quality,” said Aparton.

Under present plans, the clubhouse will be moved to be sited parallel to Carolina Street, with an addition built onto its southern end. Open space and a dog relief area will be located west of where the clubhouse is currently located. Plazas will serve as entrances to the park’s northeastern and southeastern corners. Jackson Liles Architecture and Fletcher Studios, both Dogpatch-based, developed the designs. 

FoJP is soliciting suggestions for a new park name, prompted by residents unhappy with the commons being named for former U.S. President Andrew Jackson. Deckenbach said The Association of Ramaytush Ohlone, who lived in the area that now comprises San Francisco before Spanish colonization, doesn’t believe there’s a word or term that’s appropriate to serve as a park moniker. 

“We currently have 49 responses regarding names. We’ve been sending out emails to people on our mailing list and asking for input at community meetings. We will continue to request that Hill residents and users of the park share their ideas with FoJP. We do not anticipate asking the RPD Commission to change the name until the physical renovation is complete,” said Deckenbach.

To rename the park, FoJP needs to conduct extensive community outreach and secure support from the District 10 Supervisor, with final approval by the RPD Commission. 

California College of Arts undergraduates, Meredith Bond, a fourth-year graphic design student, and Afreed Azad, a third-year graphic student, have developed a new logo and collateral materials for FoJP’s capital campaign. The work was done through TBD, a student-run design studio that engages in nonprofit projects.

This spring, three new restaurants will open at the intersection of Mariposa and Carolina streets on property owned by Bacchus Management Group, a San Francisco-based hospitality enterprise. 

“There will be Magic Doughnuts & Coffee, a modern coffee and doughnut shop, with offerings like lemon meringue doughnuts and coffee from RoastCo, a small coffee roasting company we own based in Oakland,” said Tim Stannard, president of Bacchus Management Group. “There will also be Louie’s Original, a hamburger and milkshake joint. The name is in honor of Louis’ Lunch, a burger restaurant I used to visit in New Haven, Connecticut when I was a kid. They claim to be the first restaurant to serve hamburgers in the U.S. Lastly, there’ll be La Connessa, meaning “the connected,” for the connected spaces. LaConnessa will be a contemporary Italian trattoria featuring a seasonally changing menu of regional Italian dishes. It’ll also have a big, beautiful bar with lots of little bites for snacking.” 

Stannard said the location near Jackson Park was a primary reason he’s opening the restaurants.

“There are very few places near the base of the hill near Jackson Park to get a bite to eat, onsite or to bring to the park. We’re hoping the park and the restaurants will activate one another,” said Stannard.

Stannard, who currently lives in the Peninsula, grew up in San Francisco and spent time at Jackson Park.

“My uncle lived just up the hill on Connecticut Street. When we visited, we walked down the hill to play in the park. Later, when my son was born, we returned so he could play here too. That’s one of the inspirations to open Louie’s Original. He loves vanilla milkshakes,” said Stannard.

Stannard welcomes improvements to Jackson Park. 

“I think it will create a vibrant recreational space. When I grew up, everything around the park was light industrial, from warehouses to manufacturing. I look forward to having park users come to get food to take to the park and hear baseball games from the front doors,” said Stannard. “I don’t foresee any overlap with the openings and the renovation. That said, we are excited for the future of the park. (We) look forward to the restaurants being a part of the future of the community, along with the new version of Jackson Park.”