Russian Hill park $25 million from reality

San Francisco supervisors Tuesday approved a deal to build a new city park near the waterfront in Russian Hill.

The resolution approved by the board will allow Recreation and Parks officials to work with the nonprofit Francisco Park Conservancy for the design and construction of a park on the site of the long-unused Francisco Reservoir, located south of Bay Street between Larkin and Hyde streets.

The conservancy, formed by residents in 2014, has committed to privately raising $25 million toward the park’s construction and contributing around $150,000 a year toward the park’s maintenance. Recreation and Park has budgeted $430,000 for environmental review and a project manager for the project, according to city staff.

The nonprofit group plans to start fundraising and begin public outreach and community meetings to solicit input on the overall design of the park this summer.

“We are looking forward to the public outreach and the exciting work to raise the funds, design and build the park,” Leslie Alspach, chair of the Francisco Park Conservancy, said in a statement. “It will be a place of great benefit for all residents and visitors to San Francisco.” The Francisco Reservoir was the first reservoir built in the city in 1859, but was declared obsolete by 1940, according to the conservancy.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission agreed to transfer the 3.29-acre reservoir site to Recreation and Park in 2014 for $9.9 million, after plans to sell it for development met with opposition.

The park will be developed on the reservoir site and on a neighboring 0.96-acre site that Recreation and Park also previously owned, putting it at just over 4 acres.

Supervisor Mark Farrell called the chance to turn the abandoned reservoir into a new park a “once in a lifetime opportunity.” “With today’s approval, the difficult and fun work of soliciting input from residents and neighborhoods about the park they would like to see created begins,” Farrell said.

More information on the park and conservancy can be found at www.franciscopark.org.