San Francisco

San Francisco Unveils Renovated Playground in Chinatown

Willie "Woo Woo" Wong Playground in San Francisco.
NBC Bay Area

San Francisco city officials on Friday celebrated the completion of a $14.5 million renovation at Willie "Woo Woo" Wong Playground in the city's Chinatown, just in time for the Lunar New Year.

The playground, located at 830 Sacramento St., had been closed for more than two years as the improvements were being finished.

Renovations include a new children's play area, a new clubhouse, and improvements to the sports courts, among others.

At the new clubhouse, the city plans to launch a new Community Hub, providing in-person activities and support to some 12 students.

"I am so excited to open this playground and beautiful community space in Chinatown just in time for Lunar New Year," San Francisco Mayor London Breed in a statement. "Parks and playgrounds make cities livable, particularly in dense areas, and investing in neighborhood spaces and projects like this are critical for San Francisco's wellbeing and our recovery."

"This is a big day for the Chinatown community," Community Youth Center Executive Director Sarah Wan said.

CYC will oversee the Community Hub program at the new clubhouse.

"CYC is excited to be the anchor tenant of the clubhouse where we will support the Community Hubs Initiative to provide a safe and stable learning space to youth in Chinatown who need it the most. Eventually, our goal is to open up the clubhouse and playground areas to provide holistic community programs that promote physical fitness, mental wellbeing and healthy lifestyles," Wan said.

Renovations within the clubhouse include a new large multipurpose room with bleacher seating, a kitchenette, an elevator, office space, larger bathrooms and storage space.

Several other elements of the renovations were inspired by Chinese culture, including a climbable water dragon sculpture for kids, a fiery phoenix sculpture, and a mural called "Maiden's Dress," created by local artist Julie Chang.

"As we ring in the Year of the Ox, nothing makes me happier than knowing that Chinatown youth will soon be shooting hoops on a new basketball court named after a Chinese American legend, seniors will have a safe respite to practice outdoor tai chi, and children will be able to use the Clubhouse as the newest Community Learning Hub," said Supervisor Aaron Peskin, whose district includes Chinatown.

The park is named after Willie Wong, a Chinese American basketball player who played for the University of San Francisco from 1948 to 1950.

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