Washington Square Park in San Francisco is a favorite spot for local tai chi groups, dog walkers and picnickers. But it also has perennially swampy turf and an antiquated irrigation system that uses more than 3 million gallons of water a year, according to an by the San Francisco Chronicle.
To the disappointment of neighboring residents and business owners, the park will close for at least six months this spring in order to undergo a major irrigation upgrade. The closure, set to take place in April, will last into prime spring and summer months when residents and tourists visit the park.
According to the article, the park is deteriorating. It is often a slushy, muddy mess, even during dry summer months. The 65-year-old irrigation system uses more water than any park per acre in the city, according to the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department.
According to the department, the new irrigation system could reduce the park’s annual water use by more than 2.2 million gallons and save the city thousands of dollars. It also says a more efficient drainage system will help mitigate the park’s constant slush.
The work is the last phase of a $6.5 million renovation of the park, which includes new bathrooms that opened a few years ago and a recently rebuilt playground.
Dan Macchiarini, board president of the North Beach Business Association, says the project will be yet another hit to North Beach area where the park is located, which has experienced a large amount of construction projects over the past few years.
According to the article, the association originally appealed the project, seeking traffic and noise mitigation promises from Rec and Park. It withdrew the appeal after negotiating a memorandum of understanding that promised no jackhammering between 8 a.m. and noon, that construction equipment would occupy only two parking spaces and that if the project takes more than six months, the contractor will be fined $1,200 per day.