No Raincheck: SoMa Batting Cages Open For Summer Action

Despite the gloom this afternoon, San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department is celebrating the installation of new batting cages at SoMa's Victoria Manalo Draves Park.

The party is scheduled for 3pm, and will include baseball-related activities like wiffle ball, batting practice, dry swings, and fielding catches. (Note: a department spokesperson said some activities may be "scaled back" due to the weather.)

"United Playaz and other community organizations put together a couple of baseball teams," Rec and Park general manager Phil Ginsburg told Hoodline. “We want to do our best to make that a really inspiring site for the teams to play.”

Rec and Parks, United Playaz, and the San Francisco Giants partnered to organize today's event. Ginsburg described the project as an effort in community partnership.

"We don’t do it alone," he said. "We’re working hand in hand with United Playaz, Supervisor Jane Kim, the Mayor, community developers and Bessie Carmichael Elementary."

A look at the new batting cage.

Mayor Ed Lee is expected to be in attendance, as is SF Giants mascot, Lou Seal, who's expected to run training drills with the kids once he arrives (around 3:30pm). Rally towels and other swag are expected to be given out at some point during the festivities.

The $150,000 batting cage project was funded by San Francisco’s Recreation and Park Open Space Fund and advocated by Commissioner Allan Low. Construction began this April; Ginsburg said the biggest hiccup in the project was the rain.

Finishing touches being made on the batting cages.

The batting cages will join a $30,000 home-run fence that was installed in 2014 and funded by real estate company AGI Avant Inc. Upgrades to the park's lights is next on the list, although the schedule has yet to be ironed out.

Mayor Ed Lee at a Fix-It Team walk in February.

Addressing concerns about safe access to the park has been an ongoing project for the Rec and Parks, Public Works and the SoMa Fix-It Team. in February, full-time bathroom attendants were hired through the Pit-Stop Program to help monitor park cleanliness and safety issues.

Victoria Manalo Draves Park is located in an equity zone, defined as a city district where the need for open spaces and parks are the greatest.

“San Francisco is the first city in the nation where one hundred percent of us live within a ten minute walk to a park,” said Ginsburg,“but even still, this neighborhood really has the lowest amount of open space."

Today's event is open to the public and will be held from 3-5pm at 16 Sherman Street between 6th and 7th streets off of Folsom Street.

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