Photograph Courtesy of SF PORT

Photograph Courtesy of SF PORT

February 2014

Crane Cove Park to Proceed Without Edifice

Keith Burbank

A meeting at the Port of San Francisco held late last year led to two big changes in the design for Crane Cove Park. Dogpatch residents convinced the Port to move a building that had been slated for park property to a different area of Pier 70, creating another half-acre of green space in the park. And the Port will now work to construct the park’s northern shoreline sooner, perhaps as part of project phase one, which is expected to commence mid-2015.

“The community is ready for the park to be open,” said David Beaupre, the Port’s senior waterfront planner.Beaupre added that some people don’t like the design, but residents are clamoring for more open space in the neighborhood in light of all the development taking place.

Crane Cove Park is part of historic Pier 70, an old shipyard that’s being renovated in a massive undertaking that will bring residences, shops and offices to the now mostly decrepit shoreline. A slipway and two cranes, all of which were used in ship building, will remain in the park. Overall, the redevelopment will open up 1,000 feet of shoreline to public access.

Located along Illinois Street, bounded by Mariposa Street on the north, and a proposed extension of 19th Street on the south, “Crane Cove is set to be one of the most celebrated new parks in the City,” according to the Port’s website. Besides featuring the history of shipbuilding, the park will provide a launching pad for human-powered boats. The park’s northern shoreline will be beach-like, allowing residents to put in kayaks, rowboats, dragon boats, and whaleboats.    

“This is one of the very few, if only, places along the Port’s waterfront where we can have a beach-like shoreline edge,” Beaupre said. Kayakers and other boaters find sandy beaches the easiest shoreline from which to launch their small vessels. A sandy “shoreline does not exist or is not feasible on any other Port property, north or south, except within Islais Creek, which is very limited and over a mile from the site,” Beaupre added.

Paul Nixon, a Central Waterfront Advisory Group member and human-powered boat advocate, is excited about the sandy shoreline. Work to create access for human-powered boats has been going on for several years, he said. And he agreed that building the shoreline as part of phase one is a big change, insisting that it’s time to move ahead with the park.

“People are interested in us delivering a park,” Beaupre said. There’ll be additional opportunities for interested parties to weigh in on park design, but in general the Port believes it’s reached a consensus with the community on how to proceed. The park will be developed in two or three phases, depending on when the Port secures the needed funding for the project. Plans are for the park to be open in late-2015 or early-2016, though funding challenges could delay completion until 2019.

So far the Port has earmarked $23 million for the development, which it expects to cost $45 million, or $5 million per acre. Additional possible funding sources include tax increment financing, future park bonds, and grants.

“This is going to be a really cool park,” said Matt O’Grady, executive director, SF Parks Alliance. “More park sooner. We like that.” O’Grady said that the Port has done a good job of gathering community input on the project, as well as balancing competing interests. His only concern — and a theoretical one at that — is if the project stalls out.

This spring the Port will seek review and approval of the park’s final blueprint, including grading details, the construction materials to be used, and key design elements. During the summer, the Port will vet materials for the park’s pathways, tables, benches, lights, signs and other amenities. Meetings will be open to the public, though dates for future gatherings haven’t yet been set.

More information about the park and its design can be found at sfport.com/cranecovepark.

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