Dog-walkers rejoice! And also, get used to wandering around massive concrete pylons.
The new park had to wait until retrofit work was finally finished, and now that it is, ground can finally be broken on the new open space.
It's the city's way of saying "thanks" to nearby residents for putting up with five years of construction. The park will cost $4 million -- that's one percent of the cost of the retrofit -- and will be paid for by bridge tolls. So every time you cross the Bay Bridge, give yourself a pat on the back for helping to pay for a grassy field.
The plans call for a veritable doggy paradise: a play area for small dogs that's separate from another for big dogs, plenty of drinking water, and shrubbery galore. It's a response to requests from the neighbors, about a quarter of whom own dogs. Dog-walking space in the neighborhood is in short supply, and when they heard that the city was planning a park they rallied on behalf of their four-legged friends.
Other smaller upgrades include a new public plaza on Fifth Street and some more park space on Essex.
Maintenance of the park is a bit unusual: the Department of Public Works will construct it, but the Department of Rec and Parks doesn't have enough money to keep it clean. Residents have pledged to contribute to upkeep, but for the open space to be a long-term success, the city may need to give Rec and Park a little bump in its budget. The department is already stretched so thin that it has had to replace weed-picking patrols with toxic chemical sprays.