Feb 10, 2023 - News

Lake Merced proposal includes ropes course, playground and restaurant

lake merced rendering

Image: Courtesy of San Francisco Recreation and Park Department

San Francisco is moving forward on its plan to create an 11-acre park at Lake Merced after receiving a final environmental approval last month from the city's Planning Commission.

Why it matters: Despite its big footprint, the area has little recreational space for activities beyond running, golfing and rowing.

  • This new space would serve both the community and the nearby rowing clubs.

Details: The park, Lake Merced West, would take over the old site of the Pacific Rod and Gun Club, which operated from 1934 to 2015.

  • The new park could include amenities like a ropes course, restaurant, boathouse and skate park, Tamara Aparton, a spokesperson for Rec & Park, told Axios via email.
  • It could also feature a dock, walking paths, sports courts, a bird viewing deck, a playground and indoor events space, she said.

What to watch: The city's Public Utilities Commission plans to start knocking down old buildings and cleaning up the soil beneath them later this year, Aparton said.

  • The city then needs to partner with a private concessionaire, or, an entity that would have the right to own and operate the proposed new structures.
  • Construction of the recreational facilities could begin as early as 2026.

By the numbers: SF has budgeted $3.8 million, funded by a 2012 voter-approved parks bond, for the grading and paving of the foot and bicycle paths, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

πŸ™‹πŸΎβ€β™€οΈ Megan's thought bubble: Lake Merced has been an underrated space for as long as I can remember.

  • I rowed for Pacific Rowing Club in high school on Lake Merced, but other than the boathouse, gun club and golf course, the lake didn't have much else going for it, especially after the Boathouse restaurant closed in 2003.
  • Lake Merced West, when completed, should be a nice amenity for high school rowers and dragon boat teams, as well as community members looking for more space to do recreational activities.

Be smart: Lake Merced is the largest artificial lake in San Francisco and previously supplied drinking water to the city from the late 1860s to 1934, when the Hetch Hetchy reservoir became the city's water supplier, Hoodline reports.

What they're saying: Public open space makes people healthier and happier, both mentally and physically, Aparton said.

  • "The pandemic has really shown that parks aren’t luxuries but absolutely essential for cities," she said.
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