by Meaghan M. Mitchell
Community members and public officials gathered Saturday morning, Dec. 3, to celebrate the completion of a $6.9 million renovation of Bayview’s Hilltop Park, which neighbors the Westbrook public housing complex, at La Salle and Whitney Young Circle.
The project, managed by Rec & Parks, was primarily funded by the statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Act of 2008 (Assembly Bill No. 31), which set aside $368 million to improve parks and recreation facilities in underserved communities throughout California. Additional financial support was provided by The Trust for Public Land, Bayview advocacy group Parks 94124 and a private philanthropist.
“This partnership with The Trust for Public Land, Parks 94124, philanthropic funders and the various state grant agencies was fundamental in renovating this park,” said Phil Ginsburg, general manager of Rec & Parks, during the ceremony. “We’ve created something special with and for this community that will serve as a community space for generations.”
Two defining features of Hilltop Park are the 70-foot yellow sundial, which can be seen from miles away, and “The Dish,” the oldest skatepark in San Francisco.
To improve these iconic features, Rec & Parks planted a new lawn, and upgraded the plaza, amphitheater and lighting surrounding the sundial. The Dish also received a modern redesign, including a variety of new structural elements to challenge skateboarders.
Other improvements in the park include a new entryway with seating surrounded by California native and drought tolerant plants. The newly renovated park also boasts adult fitness equipment, picnic area with a barbecue pit, and telescopes as well as educational signage to enhance science and cultural learning opportunities.
“The renovations at Hilltop Park will enhance the lives of families and kids in Bayview Hunters Point,” said Supervisor Malia Cohen. “This park will bring neighbors and new visitors together, connecting them in a safe, fun community venue. I applaud SF Rec & Parks for their efforts in revitalizing the sundial and restoring this space for our neighborhood.”
“I’m glad that Bayview is finally getting the love it deserves,” said Wanda, who lives near Westbrook Park and attended Saturday’s grand opening ceremony. “I have a 12-year-old son and I was freaking out because I couldn’t find him, and it turned out he was skateboarding at Hilltop Park.”