Holiday Greetings to all of you from all of us working on the Francisco Park project.
This is an update on progress since our last newsletter in August. Considerable work has been done since August.
- Submission of Environmental Evaluation Application
- Topographical Survey
- Soil Testing
- Geotechnical Report
- Dowser, Tree and Bird Surveys
- Agreement with RPD
In October, the Recreation & Park Department (RPD) submitted the Environmental Evaluation Application (EEA) to the San Francisco Planning Department. This begins the environmental impact review of the project as required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). At this time, we believe the only significant impact will be on the historical importance of the reservoir itself.
The design team has begun collaboration on how best to address this impact, so that we can create a wonderful park and still preserve the history of the reservoir and its importance in water storage and distribution in this part of the City.
The topographical survey of the property is now complete, and so is the soil testing and the draft geotechnical report has been issued. This report informs our civil and structural engineers about the strength of the underlying soil structure so we can build the new contours properly.
In October we had a dowser, Jeffrey Becker, survey the park. He identified four locations where we might find underground water. These locations have been recorded so that if permission is granted, we can drill a well while building the park and perhaps find a natural source of irrigation water.
A tree survey as been completed by Steve Batchelder, a consulting arborist. The large Coast Live Oak seen on the hill just up from Bay Street on the Hyde Street side is a “magnificent” tree, as is the Monterey Cypress with codominant stems. The grove of seven Australian Tea trees along the Larkin Street steps is also in good condition. All of these trees need some special care that we hope to see done over the coming months.
Agreement with RPD
The Francisco Park Conservancy (FPC) Board continues to work with RPD to finalize the agreement to allow FPC to fund, design and construct the park. We are hopeful that this agreement will be complete and ready for approval in the first two months of 2016. This will be a milestone in the park schedule so that FPC can be authorized to start public outreach and a public fundraising campaign.
Year-End-Tax Deductible Contribution
The San Francisco Parks Alliance (SFPA) has been a fantastic partner for us throughout this effort to create a new park. SFPA has served as our fiscal sponsor and provided great support and advice along the way. As of January 1, 2016 our agreement with SFPA will expire and though they will continue to support us, we ask that you send your contributions to:
Francisco Park Conservancy
P. O. Box 475035
San Francisco. CA 94147-5035
FPC’s tax exempt number 47-1744588
Golden Gate Audubon Society (GGAS) was an early, enthusiastic supporter of the concept of a new public park at the defunct Francisco Reservoir. This prestigious organization will now have the distinction of being among the very first volunteers to regularly work around the future park site.
Jon Sieker, a neighbor and member of GGAS, has graciously volunteered to bird the site at least twice a month for the next full year, and document every bird spotted. Information will be logged and permanently stored in eBird.org, a worldwide data storage site run by the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Jon believes the future park site should be marked as a “hotspot” as, even in its unimproved state, the site attracts a rich variety of birds with some 37 different species logged in eBird.org to date.
At the end of the year we will have a data base informing us what birds visit, how many, and what times of the year. This will also tell us what the potential for added species of birds could be. All this information will be used to inform the landscaping of the park to maximize the habitat.
The survey underscores the commitment of FPC to construct a leading edge, sustainable, environmentally healthy park not only for all San Franciscans but for resident and migratory wildlife as well. Here are samples of birds that have already been sighted at the future park.