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San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today joined with community members, environmental advocates, and public officials to kick off the restoration of India Basin shoreline. The cleanup marks the first phase in a once-in-a-generation environmental justice project that will deliver a $140 million shoreline park to the heart of the Bayview.
Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget, approved by state legislators this week, earmarks $25 million for the project. The budget must be finalized by June 30. This state funding bolsters the $29 million earmarked for the project through San Francisco’s 2020 Health and Recovery Bond and a $25 million gift from the Pritzker Family Fund in 2019, the single largest private gift ever for the creation of public parkland in San Francisco.
“Funding the India Basin project means investing in the health and well-being of Bayview residents. It would contribute to achieving a clean, healthy shoreline and access to all of its benefits for generations to come,” Governor Newsom said.
“San Francisco going to come back from this pandemic stronger than ever. This significant investment from the state helps us ensure that every neighborhood benefits from our city’s economic recovery and commitment to environmental justice,” said Mayor Breed. “The India Basin project is creating jobs in the Bayview, while also creating an extraordinary shoreline park that reflects the neighborhood’s history, arts and culture.”
Bayview-based Rubecon Builders is leading the remediation, which will occur on land as well as within the shallow waters immediately north of the site at 900 Innes Avenue. Workers will remove debris and dilapidated structures, excavate soil, and remove decades of industrial pollution leftover from the site’s decades of building and repairing ships. The process will be overseen by the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board.
The cleanup efforts will restore a critical tidal marsh and wildlife habitat in the southeast corridor of San Francisco. This restoration is the first step in a plan to revitalize and unite a series of existing waterfront open spaces into a seamless design offering 1.7 miles of contiguous public open space. It will provide unrivaled recreational access for 2,500 units of public and affordable housing, either existing or planned, within one mile of the future park.
In addition to the $25 million earmarked in the current state budget, additional state funding includes a $8.5 million grant provided through Proposition 68, a $4 billion bond passed by California voters in June 2018 to ensure parks are safe, properly managed and accessible to everyone, as well as $4 million in state budget funds secured with the help of Assemblymember Phil Ting.
Measure AA, a clean water and habitat restoration measure placed on the ballot by the Bay Restoration Authority and passed by voters in the nine Bay Area counties, provides nearly $5 million in funding.
The India Basin waterfront project is a partnership with the Bayview Hunters Point community, the A. Philip Randolph Institute, the Trust for Public Land, and the San Francisco Parks Alliance. The project will combine the abandoned industrial site at 900 Innes Avenue, which the City acquired in 2014, with two existing parks that border it: India Basin Shoreline Park and India Basin Open Space, both of which would undergo significant improvements as part of the broader vision.
Once complete, the new park will include gathering docks for people to socialize along the restored shoreline; an accessible walkway and stairs to connect Bayview-Hunters Point with the expanded park, gardens and natural habitats; a public plaza for fitness classes, performances, and farmers markets; a lighted bicycle and pedestrian path that will close a gap in the Bay Trail, linking the Embarcadero to Candlestick Point; and an ecological education area where visitors can observe tidal mudflat habitats and native birds through small paths, decks and viewing platforms.
“I’m excited to see all of the work to make today possible come to fruition. We have been fighting for more open space and beautiful parks in the district for years. The community input and focus on eliminating blight is environmental justice in action. So proud of everyone for coming together to make this a reality. The park is another major asset for our neighborhood and a testament to the continued commitment to providing our residents with beautiful parks. This is a major milestone,” said Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton, representing District 10.
“Justice for underserved communities means equal access to nature and its abundant mental and physical health benefits,” said San Francisco Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “This project is more than just providing green space or even revitalizing ecosystems. Every aspect of this future world class park has been intentionally and thoughtfully designed to meet the needs the community has identified.”
A key goal of the India Basin project is to serve as an anchor for equitable and inclusive economic growth. The project relies on First Source Hiring, a program administered by the Office of Economic and Workforce Development that gives economically disadvantaged individuals in the program the first opportunity to apply for entry-level jobs in San Francisco.
Bayview Hunters Point residents identified workforce and business development as a major component of a community-drafted document outlining the process by which this project can serve as a model of equitable development. This Equitable Development Plan details six areas of focus: Arts, Culture & Identity; Workforce and Business Development; Connectivity, Transit, Access & Safety; Healthy Communities & Ecology; and Youth Opportunities.
“Our intention is for the community to take ownership of this space, which has always been closed off to the public,” said Jacqueline Flin, Executive Director of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, which works for civil rights and fair labor practices and is among the project’s partners. “We want the community to be involved in every step of the process. This includes developing programs to train residents of Bayview Hunters Point and employ them on this project. From construction to concessions to park maintenance and beyond we are committed to building equity from within the community. We are working with city, local businesses and nonprofit partners to create a pipeline for folks to establish careers and truly feel like this park is theirs to enjoy and take part in.”
“Communities not only deserve quality parks and open space, they also need investments like jobs and opportunities for local small businesses to benefit from park development. This is why The Trust for Public Land sees the India Basin Shoreline Park project as a national model of how cities should design and build parks centered on equity,” said Guillermo Rodriguez, California State Director with The Trust for Public Land. “When you listen to the community, you can not only deliver a great park but use the opportunity to hire locally, address transit and housing issues, and develop plans to make sure the residents living here now benefit for years to come because of this park project.”
“The Parks Alliance is proud to support and help deliver on the community’s transformative vision for the residents of the Bayview,” said Parks Alliance CEO Drew Becher. “This is part of our commitment to bring funding and resources to every neighborhood and create a more vibrant and equitable city.”