By Erica Rippe
March 28, 2019
The San Francisco Chronicle recently announced a generous grant from the Pritzker Family Fund to help open the India Basin Shoreline Park in southeast San Francisco as part of the Blue Greenway. The Blue Greenway is San Francisco's vision for 13 miles of waterfront parks and trails running from the Giants' Stadium to Candlestick Point. With the newly announced $25 million in private funds, the park is now slated to be completed by 2025, 15 years after CCLR assisted the Neighborhood Parks Council (now the non-profit SF Parks Alliance) with its successful application for a planning and community outreach grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) brownfields program.
Since 2003, redevelopment of the Blue Greenway has been a priority for the SF Parks Alliance and in 2010 the SF Parks Alliance was awarded $175,000 from the U.S. EPA to increase local community involvement in the Blue Greenway through a Brownfields Areawide Planning grant. From 2010-2018, CCLR helped the SF Departments of Parks and Environment obtain planning, cleanup1, and workforce development grants to train locals in environmentally related jobs2. All told, EPA grants to support the Blue Greenway have totaled over $3 million.
These grants have been used to build support for the Blue Greenway and plan for redevelopment of this corridor. Remediation included cleanup of metals like nickel, zinc, and copper, as well as restoration of the the historical Shipwright’s Cottage, which was a residential unit from 1875 to 1961, and then a boatyard office. Four Brownfield Job Training Grants have been used to train local unemployed and underemployed community members to earn certifications in various trades including waste management, construction health and safety, habitat restoration, and recycling. The City of San Francisco has been successful with these grants because of help and support from community members and nonprofits, like CCLR and the Trust for Public Land. Non-profit partner SF Parks Alliance is an enthusiastic proponent of open space, and the community has obtained additional grants and community support to raise funds, including a City parks bond and foundation grants.
Here at CCLR, we agree with a Chinese proverb that tells us that the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is today. So it is with brownfield redevelopment: sometimes all it takes is a helping hand to plant the early seed, and a team to help it blossom over time. Our work is far from done -- there are more parks to be built, trails to be laid out, and more public participation, assessments, cleanups and designs to build out the Blue Greenway. We’re so excited to see the Blue Greenway achieve this amazing milestone, and we can’t wait until we get to host a bike tour through the Indian Basin Park… coming in 2025!
Image via Flickr from NAParish