Apr 21, 2010

Map fun: Site of Panhandle Bandshell

While playing around with Google Maps and creating a Panhandle Park/Neighborhood map to post here, I noticed that the current satellite images capture the construction (or perhaps dismantling?) of the Panhandle Bandshell. That was 2007! Wonder when we get new pics of SF?

The bandshell still exists and lives up north at Fort Mason these days. I wonder if we could get it back to the park for the summer?
Posted by Picasa

First poll wraps up

Here are the results of the first blog poll. I will leave the analysis to you. The turnout out was ... not overwhelming. Hey, no sweat! I'm going to pause before starting a new poll. If you've got an idea, send me an email.
Posted by Picasa

Reactions to the Panhandle Playground's "D" grade

Readers made several comments on last week's post about the Panhandle Playground receiving a "D" on a city-wide playground report card. There was general acceptance of the D grade, basically because the playground was both out-of-date and worn out. The worn-out qualities were observed in different ways: the mats are worn (with holes below the swings where the kids feet touch the ground); the wood is worn and is marked as containing arsenic. The out-of-date design was seen in the overabundance of sand and lack of safe running surface; and the play structures don't appeal to kids of different ages. Parents did appreciate the recent removal of the bushes, but still want the playground kept cleaner.

A web search turned up the following notes from a Rec and Park Commission meeting. So the playground's 10-year anniversary is just 10 days away! What, by the way, is Diablo Elementary School?

On May 1, 2000 Mayor Willie Brown came out to the "Saturn" playground in the panhandle for the long awaited dedication of the renovated area. Audree Jones-Taylor and Dan McKenna from the Department joined him. The Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Coalition hosted the event. Nearly 75 children from the nearby Diablo Elementary School attended the event. This was the youths annual spring celebration, so they were more than ready to inaugurate the newly renovated play area.

I also asked parents to comment on access issues, and they mentioned the poor conditions of the south path. Parents felt caught with no good options because it's difficult to push a stroller on the bumpy south path but the north path is crowded with lots of cyclists. In addition to advocating for a playground upgrade, community members may also need to organize around re-surfacing the south path and upgrading the multi-use path.

Apr 18, 2010

Our great outdoors

The President has a new memorandum about America's Great Outdoors, calling for greater federal efforts that would, among other things, promote "community-based recreation and conservation." Here are a couple of ways our community was out enjoying the Panhandle Park this weekend.

Frisbee _?_ - not sure what this is but you score goals like in soccer


Beanbag toss (there was not just one but two separate beanbag toss parties in the Panhandle yesterday!)

Making films

Looks kind of like volleyball, but its throwing a big orange ball over the net
Posted by Picasa

Apr 14, 2010

McKinley Memorial cleaned today

The Panhandle's primary artwork- a massive bronze statue on a stone pedestal dedicated in 1904 in commemoration of an assassinated U.S. President - was cleaned today of graffiti. Pictured here, a worker hired by the San Francisco Arts Commission has removed the worst tag, a big, black mark painted recently just below the engraving of the presidents name. But he still had several tags to go, such as the one visible on the top step. Our tax dollars at work. 
Posted by Picasa

Apr 11, 2010

April work day - wrap up

Yesterday at the monthly Panhandle Park work day, neighborhood volunteers teamed with the Park's gardener and youth from Larkin Street to care for the plants around the playground - the most diverse area of park (plant-wise, that is).

The crew on Saturday

With three sets of helping hands it doesn't take long to fill a truck load of soil. 

Around the playground, plants grow in barrels and in the soil. A little extra mulch will help these plants thrive. 

Shade garden
Will helped spread chips around the shade garden and talked about how much the plants had grown since they were planted a year ago.

With Kevin's daffodils in bloom, it was a good time to work on adding soil amendments to this planted area, which also has tulips and artichokes.
Posted by Picasa

Does our playground deserve a D?

I was surprised, and dissapointed, to learn that the Panhandle's playground earned a D in the 2010 San Francisco Playground Report Card.

I'd first like to encourage families in the community to keep using and enjoying the playground. Don't let the D grade turn you off. Speaking as a non-parent, I think it's a popular destination in a beautiful setting. Yesterday morning, under threatening grey skies, dozens of kids and parents visited the playground, and no one seemed to have problems with safety or cleanliness. (The Park Stewards were out for Saturday work day, working to beautify and nurture the plantings around perimeter of the playground. Report coming soon).

I'd also like to compare the grades for the surrounding parks. I grabbed a part of a map showing neighborhood parks (from the 2008 report), and superimposed each park's 2010 grade. The result shows that neighborhood families have nearby "A" grade playground at Alamo Square to the east, and at Rossi and Sharon Arts (i.e., Koret) to the west. But, sadly, our D grade for the Panhandle is the worst in this square-mile or so of San Francisco.

More important context is that San Francisco has been upgrading playgrounds. Only 13% of playgrounds earned a D or F in this year's report card. That's down from 21% in 2008.

That leads up to my questions:
  • Does the playground deserve a D grade? What do neighborhood parents think of conditions, and what would they change?
  • What is in store for the Panhandle Playground? If it's not on the list for renovation now, when will it be?
  • What are the most important park-wide issues (such as tree care, turf care, multi-use path, bad behavior) that affect your ability to access and enjoy the playground? 
  • Who are the community leaders for this playground?
Posted by Picasa

Apr 3, 2010

White blooms on a Hawthorn for Easter

Abuzz with bees and enticingly fragrant, this Hawthorn (genus Crataegus) near Central & Fell is having a big, beautiful bloom. Wiki has great info about the ethnobotany of Hawthorns, such as the supposition that they were the source of Jesus's crown of thorns.

Posted by Picasa

Trick riders today

A fixie trick riding rally is just wrapping up in the Panhandle. Great, mellow crowd mostly there to do & watch tricks. I gather the party is put on by Skully Boom, launching a new product that you can use to take amplified music just about anywhere, and a new film, Revoked. Catch the trailer on Vimeo for obscure SF locations, like including Wallenberg HS.

Posted by Picasa

Apr 2, 2010

April 10 workday: get a flyer

Here's a new flyer to announce our next Park work day. Just click the image to see bigger and to get a printable 8x11 jpg.
Posted by Picasa