Preserving our treasures
by Assemblyman Phil Ting
With more than 800,000 San Franciscans sharing 49 square miles of land, our open
spaces are precious treasures and our historic buildings face the pressures of
development. These are sacred spaces to the character of our City.
It’s incumbent upon us to manage these jewels since they enrich our quality of life.
As the chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, I strive to incorporate these values into
our state’s budget. I’m proud to announce that I secured $6.5 million in state funds for
three priority projects of our San Francisco Recreation and Park Department that are
located here in the west side.
First, $1 million will go to improvements to Lake Merced. The lake is a unique place in
San Francisco to boat and fish as well as walk or run around its perimeter. While recent
projects by the City have led to improved water quality, there is still work to be done.
For example, only a portion of the lake’s public boat dock is usable. These state funds will
rehabilitate the dock and abate the erosion of trails that line the lake’s edge.
Additionally, $2 million will fund a renovation of the Golden Gate Park Dog Training
Area, an off-leash area located near Fulton Street and 39th Avenue.
San Franciscans love our four-legged friends, making dog parks important places for
neighbors to gather and build community. An updated space for dog play in Golden Gate
Park will be a boon for Richmond and Sunset district residents.
Finally, $3.5 million will serve as the final piece of funding to help revitalize the historic
Geneva Office Building and Powerhouse, otherwise known as the Geneva Car Barn.
Located at the intersection of Geneva and San Jose avenues, the building helped power
our city’s streetcar system for almost 90 years. The revitalization will transform the
building into a performing arts and cultural education center for youth ages 3-8.
This is a neat and rare building. It is one of the few we have left that predates the 1906
earthquake. Unfortunately, it was rendered uninhabitable by the 1989 Loma Prieta
Earthquake. The structure was slated for demolition in 1998, but a group
of community members, led by Dan Weaver, banded together to save it. This group
became the Friends of the Geneva Car Barn and began the work of raising
funds and searching for tenants to occupy a restored building.
Now that the necessary funding has been secured, restoration work on the powerhouse
portion of the building will begin by the end of this year in preparation for the non-profit
Performing Arts Workshop. In an exciting twist of history, by the end of 2018 the Geneva
Car Barn will once again serve our community, 20 years after it was saved from the
wrecking ball. I love how we will preserve this piece of our history by reinventing it.
I can’t wait to see its transformation!
Phil Ting represents the 19th Assembly District, which includes the west side of
San Francisco. He lives in the Sunset District.