2020 Health and Recovery Bond

The Board of Supervisors has voted unanimously to support the Health and Recovery General Obligation Bond for the November 2020 ballot. Mayor London N. Breed introduced the Bond in May 2020 to fund priority investments in mental health and homelessness, parks and recreation spaces, and essential public infrastructure.

The Health and Recovery Bond is the result of a collaborative effort, and reflects input from multiple City departments, the Board of Supervisors, and community members. If approved by voters with a 2/3 vote in November 2020, the Bond will provide $487.5 million for three main categories of investment: health and homelessness; parks and open spaces; and right-of-way repair, including street resurfacing, curb ramps, and street structures and plazas, all with the goal of supporting economic recovery and the health of those experiencing homelessness and struggling with substance use and mental health disorders.

Parks and Open Spaces

Approximately $239 million of the Bond will be dedicated to neighborhood parks projects and a variety of programs that support recreation and open spaces. The funding will improve several of the City’s parks and recreation centers, playgrounds, and open spaces. The Bond includes funding for citywide parks and investments in priority recovery parks, which are City parks that will increase residents’ quality of life and provide places to relax, enjoy nature, play, and exercise. Additionally, the Bond will allow the City make investments in sustainability programs, the Community Opportunity Fund, community gardens, and trails.

The proposed bond includes:

  • $101 million for neighborhood parks, including India Basin
  • $18 million for citywide parks
  • $86 million for recovery parks, including Crocker Amazon Playground, Buena Vista Park, Jackson Playground, Portsmouth Square, Richmond Senior Park and South Sunset Playground
  • $9 million for playgrounds
  • $14 million for sustainability projects
  • $6 million for the Community Opportunity Fund
  • $1 million for trails
  • $600,000 for Urban Agriculture sites

Neighborhood Parks

Approximately $101 million of this Bond measure will be dedicated to various neighborhood parks for projects that have already undergone public review, design studies, and environmental review. These projects have been developed in cooperation with various community groups and stakeholders, gone through a robust community outreach process, and undergone design analysis and environmental review.

Gene Friend Image

Gene Friend Recreation Center

270 Sixth St. | South of Market

Constructed in 1989, Gene Friend Recreation Center sits on a large site in SoMa, with frontages on Folsom, 6th, and Harriet Streets. Gene Friend currently fills key programming needs for under-served populations. To serve the existing community and support future growth in the neighborhood, replacement of the facility is needed. The new building will be almost twice the size of the existing one, with two-story massing for a double basketball court gym and a second story of program space with triple the number of multipurpose rooms. The project includes improved lighting, security, and new outdoor amenities: basketball court, plaza space, playground, and landscaping. It may also include a small free-standing unconditioned space on the northwest corner of the site for trash enclosure and storage. 

IB ImageIndia Basin

900 Innes Ave. | Bayview-Hunters Point

Located at the north of the Bayview neighborhood, India Basin Open Space has one of the City’s few remaining wetlands and is the only natural area within the Recreation and Park Department system that borders the Bay. It features tidal salt marsh and upland habitat that provides food and shelter for a variety of shorebirds and foraging habitat for raptors, as well as Bay Trail connections, access for kayakers and bird watching. The adjacent India Basin Shoreline Park offers a playground and picnic area. In 2014 the Recreation and Park Department purchased 900 Innes Ave., located between these two parks, with the intent to connect the sites and create one grand waterfront park that will close a critical gap in the San Francisco Bay Trail and increase access to open space that is accessible to many under-served neighborhoods. Along with planned improvements to India Basin Open Space funded by the adjacent housing development, the India Basin project will create a 20-acre network of new and/or improved open space. The new park will feature pedestrian and bicycle shoreline access, passive open space, fishing areas, tidal marshes, plazas and event spaces, concession stands, picnic areas, site furnishings and historical and educational displays.

Buchannan Street Mall

Buchanan Street Mall

The Western Addition

The Buchanan Street Mall is comprised of five consecutive blocks, between Eddy and Grove streets, of green space, asphalt paths and under-performing playgrounds. Presently within the five blocks are temporary gardens, tree planters, seating areas, decorative lighting and interactive multimedia installations. Developed through a robust community process, the project is intended to reinvigorate a long overlooked community by creating an equitable, safe and dynamic space that serves as a primary gathering place. Key design elements include a flexible open plaza, a new playground, improved pedestrian circulation and Memory Walk, site furnishings, a barbecue area, exercise paths, a canopy stage for events, an adult exercise area, expansive lawns and accent trees along the park’s perimeter.

Herz Project

Herz Playground Recreation Center

1700 Visitacion Ave. | Visitacion Valley

Herz Playground, situated on the southeast corner of John McLaren Park, serves the Visitacion Valley neighborhood. The Herz project includes the construction of a new recreation center on park property. The new facility will be approximately 11,500 square feet and feature an indoor basketball court, bleachers, office space, a multi-purpose room, restrooms and other spaces for storage and building systems equipment. Outdoor improvements will include a plaza at the entrance, installation of adult fitness equipment, lighting, removal of hazardous trees and pathway and circulation improvements to connect the park with the Sunnydale community and neighboring community center that will be developed as part of the HOPE SF Sunnydale redevelopment.

Peace Plaza 2

Japantown Peace Plaza

1610 Geary Blvd. | Japantown

Located in the heart of Japantown between the Japan Center malls, Japantown Peace Plaza was originally built in 1968 and last renovated in 2000. The Plaza includes seating areas and landscaping around the famous Peace Pagoda that defines the neighborhood skyline. For many years, the plaza has been leaking water into a public garage situated below the mall and plaza. The Japantown project will resolve the leaking water and provide a reinvigorated public space for the community. The renovation will include new planting, shade structures, paving, seating, lighting and needed structural reinforcement of the Plaza and/or Peace Pagoda. The new design will provide the community with more functional access to the Plaza, both for everyday and special event use, while harnessing the symbolism that this site holds within the neighborhood, city and region.

Citywide Parks

Together, San Francisco’s citywide serving parks – Golden Gate Park, John McLaren Park, and Lake Merced Park – comprise almost 2,000 acres of open space, each with vast, ongoing capital needs. Golden Gate Park alone is estimated to need over $500 million in capital investment to renovate and improve park features. The 2020 Bond will build upon projects delivered through past bonds and provide an additional $18 million for improvements in these three parks, allocating $10 million for improvements in Golden Gate Park, $6 million for improvements in McLaren Park, and $2 million for improvements in Lake Merced.

Project selection will be guided by, but not limited to, the following:

  • Community process and outreach
  • Existing master plans and policy documents
  • Deferred maintenance needs
  • Scoping by parks staff
  • Overall project readiness

portsmouth sqRecovery Parks

The purpose of the Recovery Parks program is to provide people an avenue for physical and mental health improvements through active recreation and resilient contemplative spaces. The City’s parks’ needs are well understood, and they represent a leading opportunity to get people back to work quickly. Priority parks for this funding category include Buena Vista Park, Crocker Amazon Playground, Jackson Playground, Portsmouth Square, Richmond Senior Park Improvements, and South Sunset Playground

The bond identifies $86 million for this program with the following allocations, based on a general sense of needs at the parks, and other sources and means that may be available to provide support for various parks: $15 million towards Crocker Amazon Playground, $3 million towards Buena Vista Park, $10 million towards improvements at Jackson Playground, $54 million towards improvements at Portsmouth Square, $1 million towards Richmond Senior Park improvements and $3 million towards improvements at South Sunset Playground. 

These parks have been identified as having extensive capital needs that will require bond funding to address. The Recreation and Park Department is working to identify specific needs and opportunities for these priority parks and collaborating with partners and stakeholders to prioritize needs and develop projects. Bond funding could be used for project planning, and once a specific project has been developed and undergone public and City review, bond funding could be used for project implementation, if approved. For all these parks, the Recreation and Park Department will complete conceptual design, and the projects will undergo any required environmental review before the Recreation and Parks Commission may review and consider approval of any specific improvement projects.


San Francisco’s parks have 180 children’s play areas, serving a variety of children’s ages, neighborhoods, and needs. The $9 million Playgrounds program will renovate, replace, and remediate dilapidated playgrounds throughout the city. Playground selection will be based on consideration of, but not limited to: equity zones, 2020 Census Data, 2040 population growth priorities, physical condition of sites, timing of most recent improvement project, code compliance, analysis of disables access, and Controller’s Proposition C Park Evaluation Data. 

Playgrounds that may be analyzed as potential renovation sites under this program include, but are not limited to, the following playgrounds: Miraloma, Pretica Park, Parque Niños Unidos, Head-Brotherhood, Cow Hollow, Peixotto and States Street. This list is not exhaustive, and other playgrounds not included may also be funded.


The 2020 Bond will continue the successful Trails program from the 2008 and 2012 Parks Bond, which improved trails in Grandview Park, Twin Peaks, the Oak Woodlands Trail in Golden Gate Park, four priority areas in McLaren Park among others. This $1 million program will improve access and opportunities to walk and hike in San Francisco.

Community Gardens

Community gardens provide food, foster a connection to nature and support a sense of community. Since community gardens are relatively small and typically include only areas for gardening, pathways and seating, small investments may go a long way in improving a garden’s usability and appeal. This $600,000 program will deliver improvements that may include new or improved seating areas and site furnishings, planter boxes, and composting bins, as well as site beautification and landscaping and lighting improvements.


The sustainability program will fund conservation, protection, restoration, and other improvements to spaces and amenities to build climate resilience. Projects included in the $14 million sustainability program could include climate adaptation work along Ocean Beach; forest management; water conservation measures; energy generation and conservation measures; landscaping with native plants; acquisition, improvement, or expansion of urban agriculture sites; and development of new spaces to improve resiliency of our city and our parks.

Community Opportunity Fund

The Community Opportunity Fund (COF) provides an opportunity for neighborhoods, community groups, and park partners to nominate capital projects for funding. The COF promotes community stewardship, enhances park identity and experience, and leverages resources from the community. Given the success of this program over the last decade, the 2020 Bond will allocate an additional $6 million to continue the COF, which empowers community members to foster change in their neighborhood parks.

Read more about the bond here

Health and Recovery Bond in the News

For low income San Franciscans, health and recovery means prioritizing our parks
As public housing residents, our families are exactly the San Franciscans the Health and Recovery Bond would help most. Particularly the $200 million earmarked for accessible parks and recreation centers that offer programming like free after school enrichment. The bond is up for its first public hearing Wednesday before the Board of Supervisors’ Budget and Finance Committee.

A Newly Renovated 5-Block Park is Coming to Western Addition
San Francisco has worked with local residents to plan, design, and build new park enhancements aimed at making Buchanan Mall a safe, green, and well-used center for the neighborhood. The project would renovate the park to include edible gardens, interactive art installations, a gracious promenade, and children’s play areas honoring neighborhood heroes.

SF leaders want $438 million bond to kick-start city’s coronavirus-hobbled economy
Parks and open spaces would receive $200 million under the current bond proposal. Of that $121 million would be allocated to park-improvement projects that have already undergone public and environmental reviews and design studies. The remaining $79 million would be spent on park programming, trail improvements, community gardens and other initiatives.

San Francisco Mayor Seeks to Retool Bond Measure to Aid Recovery
Breed late last year had asked the city’s capital planning committee to replace a parks bond measure already under consideration for the November ballot with a proposal that spent more on mental health services.

SF proposes $438.5M November bond measure to fund streets, parks, mental health and homeless services
San Francisco plans to ask voters this November to approve a $438.5 million bond measure to fund a wide range of needs: street repaving, park improvements and homeless services.

SF to Receive $8.5M in Bond Funds for India Basin Park
The City of San Francisco is set to receive a $8.5 million grant from a voter-approved bond measure to help transform a former industrial lot in India Basin into a waterfront park.

SF to Receive $8.5M in Bond Funds for India Basin Park
The City of San Francisco is set to receive a $8.5 million grant from a voter-approved bond measure to help transform a former industrial lot in India Basin into a waterfront park.

India Basin Park Will Undergo a Stunning Transformation
The long-neglected stretch of shoreline is scheduled to receive a $125 million renovation, to convert it from an empty lot into a neighborhood park.

The Importance of Parks for Well-Being and Recovery

Fixing the Outdoors Will Fix Our Economy
While it’s great to see so many Americans turning to the outdoors to bolster their physical and mental health in this difficult moment, the resources needed to provide families and communities natural spaces for recreation and play are stretching thin.

During Life under Lockdown, City Parks Become Sanctuaries
In these stressful and uncertain times, parks have become even more central to our physical and mental health, and safe access to them must be maintained.  

How Pandemics Spurred Cities to Make More Green Space for People
Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, advocated for the healing powers of parks, which he believed could act like urban lungs as “outlets for foul air and inlets for pure air.” 

NY Times: The Spaces That Make Cities Fairer, More Resilient
Equal, accessible and resilient public space can promote civic health during a pandemic. Over the long term it will promote the health, welfare and equality of our cities for decades to come. For in the end, urban resilience is not purely a physical, nor a social, nor an economic goal. It is one, like well-made streets and sidewalks, that should connect every part of public life. 

OpenRoad Episode 53 - Restoring the San Francisco Bay
OpenRoad with Doug McConnell highlights the importance of our wetlands on the shores of the San Francisco Bay, which includes the future park site at India Basin and its neighboring shorelines. The video shares the history of the bay’s wetlands and looks to the future, discussing what we can do to secure these natural resources and fight climate change.

View Webinar

San Francisco 2020 Parks Bond Presentation from Janice on Vimeo.

In addition to English additional language options can be found by clicking the CC (closed captioning icon) in the bottom right corner of the video. They include: Traditional Chinese, Korean, Filipino (Tagalog), Vietnamese, Russian, and Spanish.

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