Golden Gate Park

GG Park dog field getting $2 million overhaul

by Thomas K. Pendergast


An off-leash dog walking area in Golden Gate Park, west of Spreckels Lake and near the

intersection of Fulton Street and 40th Avenue, is slated for a $2 million makeover

sometime this year.


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 Dogs frolic at the Golden Gate Park dog training area. Photo: Thomas K. Pendergast.


The SF Recreation and Park Department (RPD) and the mayor’s office announced that

District 19 Assemblymember Phil Ting has secured $6.5 million of state funding to

improve San Francisco parks, of which $2 million will go into the renovation of the

dog park. The rest of the money will be used to restore the Geneva Car Barn and

Powerhouse and improvements around Lake Merced.


Money for the dog park will go to upgrading the park by adding benches, dog turf and

better fencing. A community planning and design process is now underway.


“My constituents and I deeply appreciate Assemblymember Ting’s timely and much

needed contribution for our city’s parks,” said District 1 Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer,

whose district includes Golden Gate Park. “Our 38th Avenue dog play area has been

neglected for decades but I am glad that our neighborhood’s recent organizing efforts

around this important resource have been so successful and will result in a gem of a dog

park. This money provides our district the ability to renovate the dog play area in a

manner that will make it a state-of-the-art facility once the project is finished. We still

have a ways to go before we have an agreed upon design and I encourage all of the dog

lovers in our district to contact my office to learn how they can participate

in this exciting process.”


Ting agrees.


“San Francisco’s parks are valued by its residents and visitors, and we want to keep it

that way,” Ting said. “With $6.5 million coming in from the state, the enhancements,

restoration and improvements that will be made to the Geneva Car Barn, the new

Golden Gate Park Dog Park and Lake Merced will go a long way in preserving San

Francisco’s rich history while increasing accessibility for years to come,” Ting said.


Mayor Edwin Lee, who recently passed away, also supported the effort.


“To help keep our residents in San Francisco, we need to create more amenities for our

families and this funding finds innovative ways to make that happen,” Lee said.


On the afternoon of Christmas Eve, about a half dozen dogs roamed around the

dog training area while their owners threw balls and chatted with each other.


With his Airedale Terrier “Bam Bam” nearby, Ulysses Vinson compared the dog area to

one in South San Francisco called Centennial Dog Park, which he thinks is much nicer.


“They have a stretch of turf grass there, so your dog wouldn’t have to be in the mud

when it rains,” Vinsen said. “They also have agility features for dogs to jump over.”


He is in favor of spending money to upgrade the off-leash dog area in Golden Gate Park.


“There’s a lot of need and room for improvement,” he said. “This time of year the sun

goes down earlier but there are no lights out here. Sometimes, we put the headlights on

from our trucks to light it up so we can walk the dog.”


He also thinks the water fountain for the dogs is poorly designed and needs to be

replaced, the fence around the area could be higher and a hose would be

good because some dogs prefer to drink from a hose, rather than the shallow pan in the

current water-fountain design.


Daniela Sawicki was watching her Toy Australian Shepard running around playing with

a couple of much larger dogs. She would like to see a separate area within the dog park

for smaller dogs, because her dog “Beans” sometimes gets trouble from the

larger breeds.


“Beans is so small that sometimes the bigger dogs think ‘squirrel’ and go into predator

mode,” Sawicki said. “So, it would be nice to have an area where small dogs can be

more safe.”

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