San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed and State Senator Scott Wiener today announced the allocation of $4.8 million in state funding secured by Senator Wiener to renovate the Buchanan Street Mall, which stretches five blocks across San Francisco’s Western Addition. Today’s announcement brings the total funding for the project to $9.65 million. This includes $2 million earmarked for the Mall’s renovation in the Health and Recovery Bond passed by San Francisco voters in 2020.
“This significant investment ensures that residents of the Western Addition will have a beautiful park and gathering space for generations to come,” said Mayor Breed. “This community-led project includes years of work, input, and vision from the people who live here and know this neighborhood best. I want to thank Senator Wiener for securing the funding to push this project forward.”
“I’m thrilled to deliver this investment in the Buchanan Street Mall,” Senator Wiener said. “This community has a vision that deserves to be realized: a dynamic, engaging and safe park that reflects the neighborhood’s history and culture.”
The Buchanan Street Mall stretches five consecutive blocks between Eddy and Grove streets. The vision for the Buchanan Street Mall Project, developed in an ongoing partnership with the community since 2014, is to create a vibrant, safe, and equitable gathering space that encourages interaction between people of all ages. The project’s design includes a flexible open plaza, creative new playground, sports courts, adult exercise equipment, a barbecue area, community gardens, a canopy stage for events, expansive lawns for relaxing, and a Memory Walk incorporating art and interpretive elements to tell the stories of the neighborhood.
The project is a partnership between the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, Citizen Film, Green Streets, The Trust for Public Land, the Exploratorium’s Studio for Public Spaces, and the San Francisco Park Alliance.
“We have a phenomenal opportunity to show what’s possible at the Buchanan Mall,” said San Francisco Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “The vision for an inclusive and creative hub for recreation and neighborhood pride has been guided every step of the way by the community and we can’t wait to move forward.”
"The Buchanan Street Mall project isn't just about creating a beautiful new park, but is also about giving the Fillmore community a place to celebrate the rich history of their neighborhood and a place to inspire hope for a healthier, safer future," said Guillermo Rodriguez, California State Director for The Trust for Public Land. "The determination from so many to take this park from idea to action is truly inspiring and The Trust for Public Land is proud to celebrate being one step closer to bringing it to reality."
The Buchanan Street Mall was built by the then-San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, opened to the public in 1975, and transferred to the Recreation and Park Department in 1976. The park underwent major renovations in the late 1980s and early 1990s and received repairs in the early 2000s. After years of underuse, the Buchanan Street Mall came alive again in 2015 after the partnership installed temporary activations that drew neighbors, including gardens, benches, archways, historical photos, lighting, and two "audio-domes" providing stories from the neighborhood.
Following an extensive community-led public engagement process that documented the community’s needs and aspirations for the park, the project partners developed a vision plan for the future of Buchanan Mall in 2018. With the secured funding, construction on the first block, between Turk and Golden Gate streets, is scheduled to begin in early 2023.
Through Buchanan Change, a group facilitated by Citizen Film and funded by the Trust for Public Land, youth ambassadors from the neighborhood interviewed elders about the neighborhood’s history and future.
“The Fillmore Neighborhood was redeveloped in the 1960s and 70s without the developers making an effort to understand or adapt to the needs of the residents who were directly impacted by the urban renewal,” said Widya Batin, a San Francisco State University student and youth ambassador. “Buchanan Change has been soothing old wounds with a community-driven vision of the Buchanan Mall that will inspire the future by remembering leaders of Fillmore/Western Addition’s past and honoring those leaders still making the change today.”
The Buchanan Street Mall project is currently under consideration for an additional $5.8 million grant through Proposition 68. If awarded, the grant would expand the scope of the first phase of project construction to include improving the block between Eddy and Turk streets. Passed by voters in 2018, Prop 68 allocates funding through the Coastal Conservancy to create parks, enhance river parkways, and protect coastal forests and wetlands, as well as projects that address climate change.