Beach Chalet soccer fields make public debut

The grass was certainly greener Wednesday at the newly-renovated Beach Chalet Soccer Fields in Golden Gate Park, where kids of all ages will soon play their first soccer matches on its new artificial surface.

After extended controversy surrounding the swap of real grass for fake, the Beach Chalet Fields Improvement Project started in November of last year and is on track for its anticipated ribbon-cutting ceremony next week, according to Project Manager Dan Mauer.

The formerly natural grass fields had posed problems for organizers and teams, like mud, which can be unsafe for athletes. Even though there were four fields for games, only three could be played at a time so one field was always “resting.” With the renovations, the amount of playtime on the fields will triple, according to the project website.

Photos by Marlene Sanchez/SFBay

Mauer said:

“A big problem for these fields was wear and tear. … With synthetic turf, we can play year-round now.”

The renovations include new turf fields, lights, designated walkways, picnic spaces and seating. One example of the changes is new lights placed around the turf and aimed  towards the middle to properly light night time practice and games, while minimizing the impact the light has on surrounding areas of the park.

New walkways provide access to the Great Highway parking lot and make it easier for crowds to get in and out of the area.

Mauer explained that people were worried and opposed the new renovations probably in fear of the changes being too extreme. Mauer says that the changes are subtle and natural.

Phil Ginsburg, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department general manager, said:

“Our hope is that we bring youth from different neighborhoods to experience this park and we hope to really activate the western part of San Francisco.”