San Francisco

San Francisco to Transform Old Reservoir Into ‘Francisco Park' at Russian Hill

An old reservoir in San Francisco could end up transforming an entire neighborhood.

For decades, Russian Hill residents have looked 4.5 acres of unused land that many described as an "eye sore." The land stopped being used as a reservoir in 1940 and has been sitting unused since.

After years of back-and-forth between the community and the city, the Parks Commission approved its design for "Francisco Park" on Thursday.

"I don't know that anything like this has been done before, in the way that we went about doing it," said Lynn Jefferson, Francisco Park Conservancy. "We're a bunch of volunteers who are tirelessly working to get a park built there."

Jefferson is part of the conservancy that has come up with private money to transform the land. So far the group has raised nearly $9 million that will turn the overgrown grass and steep slopes into a new park.

But first the conservancy needed land and city permission, something Jefferson said required a champion at City Hall.

"I listened to them. I looked at it and completely embraced this project from Month 1," interim San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell said. "Since I've been in City Hall this has been the biggest project that I've focused on."

Under Farrell's guidance, the city purchased the land from the PUC in 2014.

On Thursday, parks commissioners officially approved the design. Construction could start later this year.

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