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Guy Place Park Update – A Green Oasis for Rincon Hill Residents and Visitors

The Rincon Hill community will be a little bit closer to getting a long-awaited park at 4-8 Guy Place after the Recreation and Parks Department’s second shot of getting bids to build the project closes on August 17, 2016. The first round yielded bids above the engineer’s cost estimates, thus the second attempt to get bids by the Department.

Here’s what 4-8 Guy Place has looked like pretty much since the City bought the lot in June 2007 using impact fees collected by the Planning Department from the developer of the first One Rincon Hill tower.

Photo from http://sfrecpark.org/project/guy-place-mini-park-rincon-hill/

Photo from http://sfrecpark.org/project/guy-place-mini-park-rincon-hill/

Here’s what the community members, who took time out of their normal lives because they wanted to collaborate with the City, have decided upon back in 2008 (meeting 1 agenda that was publicly noticed, meeting 2 agenda publicly noticed, meeting 3 agenda publicly noticed) before the Great Recession delayed the project (no more funds coming in when building of the high-rises stopped) and again agreed is the best option at a restart Community meeting in February 2014 (meeting agenda):


Source: Civic Design Review – Phase II Presentation http://sfrecpark.org/wp-content/uploads/GUY-PLACE-CDR-Phase-2-on-8-18-14.pdf

This park is so very needed in Rincon Hill, especially by the 120 formerly homeless residents who are mostly in poor health and unable to cross our EXTREMELY dangerous streets without fearing for their lives, who could get to this park around the couple corners and on the same block as their homes at Rene Cazenave Apartments . This provides a green, outdoor oasis away Rene Cazenave Apartments’ studio apartments that are bordered by Folsom and Essex traffic congestion during evening commute hours.

While we wait for the City Recreation and Parks Department’s RFP to close on August 17th and for them to choose the winning bid, there has been some ridiculous misinformation circulating by people who should know better than to act in such irresponsible ways.

For example, they are passing around a resolution passed by 6 people that was NOT noticed to their membership (no agenda shared with club members prior to meeting), and they were told directly by me that their resolution is filled with factual inaccuracies.

Here’s the resolution filled with inaccuracies and outright lies:


Let’s go through it together …

It starts off saying South Beach District 6 Democratic Club … okay, if you want to consider this backroom decision without any consultation to their friends like me who live in the neighborhood and actually know what the hell has been going on since at least 2007 as representing the South Beach District 6 Democratic Club, I’ll give ’em the header.

The first Whereas line has a false acquisition year for the property.  Jesus, don’t they research anything? Go to the County Recorder’s website and lookup block 3749, lot 005 to see the last purchase (by the City) was June 11, 2007.  What’s this about “preserving open space in Rincon Hill?” Ummm … try CREATING Open Space in Rincon Hill where no publicly owned park existed in 2007 – nor today in 2016. We’re still waiting despite the thousands of new residents who have moved into the neighborhood. The resolution is already off the rails of facts and should be treated like garbage, but let’s move along …

The second Whereas line is okay, but they keep mistakenly turning Hill into a plural “hills.”  WTF? Moving on…

The third Whereas line is complete bullshit. For those of us who bother to do research for FACTS, we know that the Rincon Hill Plan was started back in 2000 by the Planning Department performing Preliminary Planning and Concept Development. The Plan was approved and signed by Mayor Newsom in August 2005.  This crap about “Master Plan … developed … over the previous 8 years … by the Greater Rincon Hills (plural again, Jesus Christ) CBD …” is utter non-sense when we read in Whereas #2 that the Greater Rincon Hill CBD was just created last July.  Duh.

The fourth Whereas mentions 4 community meetings, but that is 4 more publicly noticed meetings that this group that decided to pass a resolution on behalf of the South Beach District 6 Democratic Club gave their membership about this misinformation filled garbage resolution.  By the way, there were several more meetings that your neighbors in Rincon Hill took time off of work to attend for the Parks Commission committees and full commission, for the Arts Commission (relating to design of the artistic gate), and for the Department of Public Works … I did not attend all of those meetings with only 10 vacation days per year from my employer that I sure as shit won’t use for anything but vacating San Francisco for some fun, but I would guess there were at least another 4 meetings of those varieties – again, making this resolution’s credibility zero.

The fifth Whereas seems okay – yes, 4-8 Guy Place was purchased from private owners back in 2007 to be turned into a public park. Well, that’s one line that wasn’t bullshit in their resolution. Have a cookie.

The sixth Whereas makes up some big time fairy tale about Rincon HIll being a one-time “vestige of once-extant avocado groves covering Rincon Hill.” Really?!? That’s funny because neither my copy of the book Rincon Hill and South Park by Albert Shumate nor a 2003 article published by SPUR mention anything about avocado groves – just shrubs.  We can still see shrubs up above the dog park and below the Bay Bridge on Rincon Hill from Bryant and Beale Streets.  That’s reality.  This avocado tree stuff is some creative bullshit, but untrue as far as I can tell. There’s also mention of hummingbirds – and they delight folks all around the neighborhood’s growing number and increasing canopy of trees being planted by new developments such as Solaire, Lumina, and more to come.  Some online petition thing mentions killing hummingbirds – again, desperate and untrue as hummingbirds hang out in plant beds and wherever else they feel like hanging out downtown. Sigh.

The seventh Whereas is agreeable, but conveniently overlooks how much MORE green plant life will be present in the constructed as planned Guy Place Park. Scroll back up to the top and compare – blighted dirt lot with a couple of trees located dangerously close to electrical wires and homes versus an entire collection of greenery – with concrete so that our Amercians with Disabilities Act laws are complied with thank you.

The eighth Whereas is false because it wrongly indicates the Greater Rincon Hills (Why so much plural incorrectness?!?) CBD is the one driving the redesign, but it should be quite clear that the City’s Recreation and Parks Department is the one running the show and who has the budget to build this park. The Greater Rincon Hill CBD is a non-profit corporation that was formed to supplement city services by helping to maintain the public realm that is already built, but the CBD does not build infrastructure. Again, misinformation abounds in this resolution and it should be treated like garbage for lack of facts if not for the point that this project has already gone through the ringer of public meetings as appropriate. Also, the budget is $3.1 million according to the Rec and Parks website, not this incorrect $1.6 million figure in the lack-of-facts-is-overwhelming resolution. It mentions removal of the trees – sure, because otherwise half of the park would be taken up with cement ramps at an angle that complies with ADA access rules. Trees come and go – sometimes they kill people when branches fall off the unmanaged trees such as these. Moving along …

The ninth Whereas again wrongly states that it is the Greater Rincon Hills (sigh) CBD that has any relationship to the RFP to get bids to build the Community Consensus Park for 4-8 Guy Place.  Again, this is a City and County of San Francisco’s Recreation and Parks Department project. The first bid was not rejected due to “technical problems” as this bogus resolution claims.  Quite simply, the bids were higher than the Recreation and Parks Department’s engineer estimated – and the Community doesn’t want to cut features from the park design if we don’t have to.

Okay … now what does this band of misinformed people want to do after blowing the “Whereas ..” clauses?

They resolve the Greater Rincon Hills (somebody tell these folks there’s only ONE hill between Harrison and Bryant Streets on the waterfront) CBD should halt the bid process.  Okay, well, let’s consider it is NOT the CBD’s RFP bid process, so what the hell are you talking about?

Finally, they plan to spread this misinformed, false garbage resolution across the City’s leadership and some other clubs just to let everyone know they are misinformed amateurs I guess … because this resolution is junk.

Hope to see you at our Guy Place Park next summer!  – jamie



2 Responses to Guy Place Park Update – A Green Oasis for Rincon Hill Residents and Visitors

  1. Maurice Bizzarri

    Thank you for this complete description of the situation and the comments and clarifications. They are also holding up the Guy St. repaving project until this park is finished. I like trees as well but the park will be a welcome addition to the area and be used by everyone.

  2. I posted a version of this response on Nextdoor. Since that has limited distribution, I’m reposting it here:

    It’s unfortunate that in our current political climate, people are allowing themselves to be manipulated by the lying, half-truths and deception that are now fair game as a means to an end.

    The resolution Susan’s referencing is riddled with out and out lies. If PoliFact were rating it, it would be “Pants on Fire!”

    There is no Guy Place Park — that’s what we’d love to have. The area for the park is fenced off and is a collection place for assorted debris. It’s been that way the entire time that I’ve lived on Guy Place.

    The park itself has been in the planning phase for EIGHT years. It actually has widespread neighborhood support, which why, I suppose, the handful of people who are against it have resorted to these methods.

    After eight years, when do we draw the line and move forward? How does anything ever get done in San Francisco?

    I take real umbrage with people who don’t live here and don’t have the faintest clue about the facts feeling that they have the right to determine how I and my neighbors live.

    This attempt to stop the park will not only condemn us to living with a tree that attracts vermin, is dangerously close to electrical wires and property, produces avocados that dent cars and rot on the sidewalk (not pleasant to see or smell), and has had heavy branches fall repeatedly over the years (fortunately no one has been injured), but it will also cost those of us who actually live on Guy Place to miss out on getting a brand new street that’s on par with Lansing.

    Since so much of the distorted information has been about the CBD and its role in this process, let me lay out the facts:
    – The CBD is legally required to contribute to the maintenance of all parks (and parks to come) in Rincon Hill, as well as maintain the streetscape foliage. This is one of reasons the CBD was created. Rincon Hill voters passed the formation legislation by a wide margin last November.
    – The CBD’s only role in the design has been to secure funding for a pet relief area just outside the park. Those of us who live here know that there’s no where safe or clean for dogs to relieve themselves.

    Yes, we will lose an avocado tree, which is unfortunate. What we will gain is a brand new, Zen-inspired park, a relief area for pets, and a new street that will have at least 12 trees. Trees that will be great for all birds, humming and otherwise.

    I implore all of you to do some research and not be swayed by such a horrible, below-the-belt tactic that has little basis in fact.