On Friday, city officials unveiled In Chan Kaajal Park, the first new park to open in San Francisco in more than a decade.
Located in the Mission at 17th and Folsom, the new public space is named for a Mayan phrase that means "my little town" or "my little village."
The name indicates that the park is for the community, said a representative from Poder, a grassroots organization that works to help low-income Latino immigrants and other communities of color. Poder is one of many organizations that participated in completing the project.
The park, which cost $5.2 million, took over what used to be an Ampco parking lot.
It took nearly ten years for the park to become a reality. In 2008, planning began with a partnership with Poder. After the park was approved, delays occurred, including inclement weather that put the project on hold in 2013 and again in early 2017, when heavy rains delayed the opening. Construction began in 2016 and took 10 months.
With facilities for kids and adults, the new 31,850-sq.-ft. park was created to be a family-friendly space with an adult workout area and a large jungle gym, swings and a slide. There's also an expansive open space with a small stage for performances and a community garden in the back.
Starting with a Mayan blessing ceremony and speakers that included District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen, State Senator Scott Weiner, Assembly Member David Chiu, Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru and Planning Director John Rahaim, Friday's opening ceremony drew people from all over the city.
Nuru told Hoodline that he was particularly proud that Rec and Park had exceeded its initial goal of ensuring that 15 percent of the work went to neighborhood businesses.
"When we do a project, a certain percentage of the project goes to local businesses or a minority contractor that is too small so they can't do big jobs, but have expertise in small parts of the project," said Nuru. "Local businesses get a discount of about 10 percent on bids, so we can keep them thriving."
Neighborhood residents also praised In Chan Kaajal Park.
Maria M., who lives a block away, said she was excited that the park was open, as her kids could come and play in the new space.
Patti C., who lives near Dolores Park, said she was waiting for this park to open. In particular, the climbing structure at this park was much better than the ones in other public spaces, she said.
In Chan Kaajal Park is now open to the public seven days a week, 7am-9pm.
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