A parking lot in South San Francisco’s Old Town neighborhood could be the city’s next park, with the City Council last month signing off on the purchase of property at 616 and 700 Linden Ave. in hopes of providing the developing area with more green space.
The city expects to pay roughly $1.3 million for the two parcels, and will host public outreach events to decide on the park’s design.
“This is such a win for our community,” Mayor Mark Nagales said. “We’ve heard it from residents in Old Town, they’ve been asking for a park, asking for some open space.”
The lot at 616 Linden Ave., currently a public parking lot with 18 metered spaces, was previously an automotive repair shop with underground petroleum tanks that contaminated the soil, so the construction will include cleanup efforts. The lot across the street at 700 Linden Ave. is a grassy field bisected by a pedestrian path.
According to a city report, the sites had been examined for housing, which would have required a more extensive and expensive cleanup estimated to cost nearly $800,000. City staff also noted the need for open space as the neighborhood has already been seeing increasing amounts of new residential construction.
The land is former redevelopment agency property, meaning the city will need to pay out various taxing entities to acquire the property. The city plans to pay out of its park acquisition fund, which currently has a $2 million balance thanks to fees paid by residential developers. Apart from the land acquisition, construction of the park is estimated to cost $3.1 million.
Nagales noted the park was one of the benefits of allowing new developments and allowed the city to “reinvest back into the community.”
“I know that when other neighborhoods hear about [the park] there might be some jealousy, but I want folks to know this isn’t the last park we’re taking a look at,” he said. “We’re looking at other locations throughout South San Francisco.”
Councilmember Mark Addiego said he envisioned the park with a gazebo modeled after one that sits in a plaza in Atotonilco El Alto, Jalisco, Mexico, one of the cities South San Francisco exchanges cultural, educational and economic information with as part of its “sister cities ” initiative.
“It made me smile when I heard some of the comments that were encouraging us to do a gazebo, which is very common in a lot of Latin American cities,” he said.