Defunct San Francisco Reservoir to be Turned Into Park

The city’s public utilities commission plans to transform Francisco Reservoir,, a 4.3-acre plot of land on Russian Hill

A defunct San Francisco reservoir that’s gobbled up prime real estate for more than 70 years will soon be getting a new life - as a park.

In late July, San Francisco's Board of Supervisors approved the transfer of Francisco Reservoir, a 4.3-acre plot of land on Russian Hill, from the city’s public utilities commission to the park’s department.

The reservoir was built in the 1860s to hold water sent by flumes from the Presidio’s Mountain Lake. But since closing in the ’40s, it’s held nothing but weeds.

“I think that it’s destiny was always that,” said Lynn Jefferson, a member of a citizen’s group that pushed for the land to be converted into a park.

The vast swath of land sits in between the tony homes off of Hyde Street, where cable cars bustle past bearing loads of tourists, and Fisherman’s Wharf. In fact, the reservoir gets a steady stream of tourists who curiously eye the strange site.

The Francisco Reservoir working group has raised pledges for $9 million of the $11 million needed to transform the park into the city’s largest new park since 1991.

“There’ll be green, there’ll be trees, there’ll be viewing corridors,” Jefferson said this week while standing near a patch of graffiti. “There’ll be places for kids to play.”

Supporters say the new park will fill a need for open space in a dense area with scant space for parks.

“As this city’s population continues to grow and we become more and more dense, we need open space more than ever,” said San Francisco Parks and Recreation director Phil Ginsburg.

The city will spend the next year working with neighbors to craft the park, which will take between three to five years to build.

Jefferson said the site’s transformation to a park, is long overdue: “This is going to serve so many people across the city.”

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