Jan 18, 2023 - News

A roller court may be in McLaren Park's future

mclaren park

A McLaren Park trail in 2017. Photo: Liz Hafalia/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

McLaren Park, San Francisco's second-largest park, could soon host a roller court and adult fitness area as part of improvements city and community members are considering.

Why it matters: McLaren Park, at 313 acres, is second only to the iconic Golden Gate Park, and the city wants to see it better serve the public. That's why San Francisco's Recreation and Park Department is working alongside community members to add new amenities for the next generation.

State of play: The city is leading a community-involved process to identify projects to prioritize as part of the McLaren Park Vision Plan, in part funded by $6 million from a 2020 voter-approved bond.

  • The proposed projects include adding an adult fitness area and a court that would cater to a variety of wheeled team sports, such as roller soccer, roller hockey and bike polo. There are also plans for pathway improvements, upgrading the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater with canopy-style shading and bathroom renovations.
  • The park has a number of amenities, including trails, playgrounds, picnic areas, a clubhouse, and areas for basketball, pickleball, golf and tennis.
  • It also features amazing views of the city.

The big picture: Throughout the process, the city and community members have worked to distinguish McLaren Park's identity from the tourist destination of Golden Gate Park, Alexis Ward, a project manager with the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department, told Axios.

  • At its core, McLaren Park is a "wild park" by virtue of its numerous trails and natural landscape, she said.
  • "The ability to really feel like you're getting lost in the park was a positive thing," she said. "But also we want to still make sure people aren't actually lost and they know how to safely navigate."

What they're saying: Linda Stark Litehiser, a member of the McLaren Park Collaborative who lives near the park, told Axios that not being able to traverse the park without a car is one of the issues they are trying to address.

  • Litehiser said that while some may want to focus spending on improving pedestrian pathways, opinions on projects vary depending on which side of the park people live on or the types of activities they are interested in: "And that's a big divide."

Flashback: A $12 million bond from 2012 has already enabled the city to complete a variety of projects in McLaren Park, including a permanent restroom and playground in the group picnic area, a bike park, pathway improvements and a community garden.

What's next: The city is now working to make preliminary plans and obtain cost estimates for the six projects before presenting them back to the community in the spring.

  • From there, members of the community will help to decide which projects to prioritize.

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