Half of Dolores Park Closing Down for Renovation

By Chase Cain
|  Thursday, Mar 13, 2014  |  Updated 12:13 PM PDT
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One of the most popular parks in the Bay Area is about to get a total makeover. Chase Cain reports.

One of the most popular parks in the Bay Area is about to get a total makeover. Chase Cain reports.

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Dolores Park Partially Closing for Renovation

San Francisco’s Dolores Park, a giant and unique Mission District open space bathed in sunshine and hipsters, will partially close in the next two weeks up, as the city begins a $12.4 million restoration slated to last more than a year. Joe Rosato reports.
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One of the most popular parks in the Bay Area is about to get a total makeover.

By the end of the day Friday, the fences will be up and half of San Francisco’s wildly popular Dolores Park will be closed for seven months. After that, the other half will close for seven more months.

The park begins closing down Thursday for its roughly $15 million renovation.

With beautiful weather expected this weekend, that's not the best news for those who go to the park. But one thing they really do like is that the park is going to get some new bathrooms. The improvements will replace the park's three bathrooms with 35 new ones.

Longtime park neighbor Carolyn Lapthorn says the partial closure will be “hard on the people.”

“Have you been here on the weekend? You can't even find a blade of grass,” Lapthorn said. “It's a wonderful park, particularly now.”

Lapthorn has lived nearby for 50 years and cannot imagine squeezing the park's 10,000 weekend visitors into half the space.

“Great park maintenance workers make it nice every day,” frequent park visitor Tony Lee said. “But now it's going to come to a smaller spot-- are they going to be able to keep up with that?"

Whatever the inconvenience, the city believes it's worth it to upgrade irrigation, lighting, and basically everything in Dolores Park, which hasn't had a major upgrade in more than a century.

According to the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, heavy usage has resulted in the park being “loved to death” by its community.

Still, frequent visitors just wonder if the renovations will be worth it.

"I hope they can respect the park after it's been remodeled,” Lee said.

“On the whole, I don't think it needs it,”Lapthorn said. “It's fine just the way it is.”

Dolores Park will also be getting new tennis courts, basketball courts and new pathways.

The renovation project is scheduled to be completed by May 2015.\

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