San Francisco

Castro Library Landscaping Moving Forward

The Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Memorial Library is getting a landscaping makeover.

This time last year, the city’s Fix-It team—a group of city employees tasked with trimming trees, installing lights and applying fresh paint to curbs and crosswalks, among other things—decided to focus on improving the library on 16th Street.

Earlier this year, barricades were deployed to deter homeless encampments from butting against its perimeter, but they were later removed by the city after Hoodline discovered that the fencing didn't comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Workers outside the Eureka Valley branch library.

As we reported in March, a library officials and Public works initiated a landscaping redesign project to mitigate community concerns regarding homelessness, litter accumulation, safety and aesthetics around the Castro branch library.  

“We wanted to have a design that is easy for us to maintain and clean,” said Cathy Delneo, the library’s chief of branches. “Something we see as beautiful each time we come to the library, compared to what we had before.”

What the library had before was a lot of mulch and plants “that weren’t faring well,” Delneo said.

Phase 1 of the project is currently underway on the 16th and Prosper facing side of the library. | Rendering: Jasmine Kaw/Public Works

Phase 1 of the landscaping project—which includes the area around 16th and Prosper Streets—will feature cobbled paving and boulders, instead of mulch, and drought-tolerant agave, rather than bushy shrubs.

“They're low maintenance,” said Mindy Linetzky, the library’s manager of communications, “which is very important to us.”

The initial phase of the library’s landscaping overhaul will be completed in September. Phase 2—which will include improvements to the parking lot, sidewalks and small plaza adjacent to Pond Street—will begin soon after Phase 1 is finished.

Neighbors voted to approve this rendering for Phase 2 of the project. | Rendering: Jasmine Kaw/Public Works

According to Delneo, this time next year will see the completion of exterior renovations to the Eureka Valley branch library. 

San Francisco Public Library tackles landscaping projects such as the one underway on 16th Street on an "as-needed" basis. Besides the Presidio branch library, where a rain garden was just installed, and the Castro branch, no other branch libraries are slated to receive landscaping improvements this year.

“We’re really excited about these [Eureka Valley branch] improvements,” Delneo said. “What we had before wasn’t an attractive and welcoming environment that we wanted to create for the community.”

As of June 17th, the Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Memorial Library is open seven days a week.


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