Noe Valley Town Square, between Sanchez and Vicksburg Street, officially opened Thursday afternoon with a ribbon-cutting ceremony that drew government officials from both the city and state levels.
The former gas station and parking lot has been replaced with a multi-use open plaza that will now serves as a community space. "We are here to celebrate community," said Phil Ginsburg, Rec & Park general manager, during the event.
The new addition to San Francisco's parks system offers a children’s play area, seating, lighting and more, at a cost of $2.8 million. The open space will also host the weekly Noe Valley Farmers' Market as well as other community events, such as a dance-focused event on November 5th.
Supervisor Scott Wiener called the new town square a "permanent improvement to the neighborhood that people will enjoy." He also acknowledged that even though it took a lot of work at the city level, it was the community that made it happen in the end.
California Senator Mark Leno, California Assemblymember David Chiu and other government officials joined community members for Thursday afternoon's ceremony.
The former parking lot was previously owned by the nearby Noe Valley Ministry church, and purchased by San Francisco Recreation and Park Department in June 2013 for $4.2 million. The site was used as a gas station from the 1930s to the early 1990s, and underwent soil remediation and underground storage tank removal between 1991 and 1999.
After acquisition of the site, the project entered a phase of conceptual design. A community involvement process sought input on the future of the park, and a proposed design concept was then approved in 2014. The groundbreaking for Noe Valley Town Square took place this January, while remediation and demolition work was completed in May.
In September, permeable pavers arrived to form a large part of the park plaza that will accommodate the weekly Saturday Farmers' Market. During the site's ten-month closure, the Noe Valley Farmers' Market, which was previously held in the parking lot, was relocated to 24th street. It will return to Noe Valley Town Square as soon as this Saturday. And to celebrate its return, there will be cake.
Funding for the project came from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the California Natural Resources Agency's Urban Greening for Sustainable Communities Project Grant, the city's Open Space Acquisition Fund, Supervisor Scott Wiener's office's and the Mayor's Office, as well as the Residents for Noe Valley Town Square association, which held its own fundraising campaign.
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