EVNA Newsletter Help

Hello EVNA Members,

We are looking for someone, or a few someones, to help with our bi-monthly newsletter.  The newsletter goes out to the membership every other month on the odd numbered months (Jan, Mar, May, etc) and takes a couple of hours to produce.  If you have any tech skills that would be a plus.  In 2019 we started to produce the newsletter on-line and got away from the bulky and costly paper version.

 

If you are interested please contact me at: robcox@evna.org.

 

Our next newsletter is July and we'll start putting it together at the beginning of the month.

 

Thanks,

 

rob

It’s Time to Speak up for Some of the Most Vulnerable Among Us…

EVNA Members- Call to Action

As president of EVNA, and as your neighbor, I'd like to ask you to be at this meeting at city hall tomorrow- will you show up to support SB-1045, The Conservatorship Law?

San Francisco needs to address the serious and inhumane crisis on our streets. Mental illness affects nearly 25% of individuals living outdoors.

We've seen it everywhere in our neighborhood- it's distressing, overwhelming, and at times terrifying to witness the extreme and out of control behavior of people who are obviously suffering from mental illness, whether organically or chemically induced. It's shameful that we've allow this to go on, and it's inhumane to leave them outside to survive in often brutal circumstances.

There's a time when, with care and transparency, we need to help these worst-case individuals by taking them into care, stabilizing their situation, and hopefully help them into services to improve their lives over time.

The SF Board of Supervisors is deliberating the merits of SB-1045 (The Conservatorship law) and is taking public input as to what citizens think would be in the best interests of our city, carefully weighing civil liberties and conservatorship.

The hearing is Monday 5/13 at City Hall, Room 250, beginning at 10am. The Eureka Valley Neighborhood Association is in support of applying SB-1045 Conservatorship to the most hardcore individuals, estimated to be 5-12 people in the entire city. They need us to speak for them- let's take this small step in the name of human kindness...

Let’s welcome our new neighbors…

We're having our first "Welcome New Neighbors!" mixer tomorrow, Saturday, May 4th, at 10:00am to 11:00am.

Aviva, owner of SparkArts Gallery  (4229 18th Street, near Mollie Stones) has generously donated her space for us to use. New neighbors have been invited as a part of the Castro Welcome Packs we delivered in April.

We'll have coffee and pastries while they last, and some great conversations with those in attendance. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to stop by, say "hello", and share what you love about living in the Castro/Eureka Valley.

Hope to see you there!

The Proposed Mission Dolores GBD

Many of our EVNA members who live on the East side of Castro street but not within  the boundaries of the Castro/Upper market Community  Benefit District (Castro CBD) will have an opportunity to participate in the process for the formation of a new proposed Mission Dolores Green Benefit District (MDGBD).  

Conan McHugh and Tom Shaub of the MDGBD formation committee briefed the EVNA Board of Directors about proposed GBD and the general concepts involved in making the GBD a reality.  The Board concurred with the GBD  Formation Committee on the process of engaging neighbors to evaluate the needs and benefits a GBD could bring to the neighborhood. The EVNA Board has taken no position on the property owner election to establish the GBD and is eager to provide a forum for our members to engage in meaningful discussion on the pros and cons of a GBD as proposed.

For more information about the proposed GBD, you can visit the MDGBD website at http://www.doloresgbd.org

EVNA Members are invited to join a meaningful discussion below.  You must be a member in good standing (i.e., dues up to date) to participate.  Being a subscriber to our newsletter is not membership.  If you live within the boundaries of the ENVA, please join us to join the conversation.

Castro Welcome pack kick off this week

The long awaited Castro Welcome Pack campaign is ready for delivery! We've got our backs packed (so to speak!), we have about 100 addresses, and now all we need is our volunteers to pick 'em up and get 'em delivered!

You've been hearing for several months now that the EVNA is launching a quarterly program to welcome all new residents to the neighborhood with a "Hello!" and a wine tote gift bag that includes information about EVNA and also promotes our local businesses with coupons and specials. I can't think of a better way to make sure those moving into the neighborhood feel connected and cared for from the start!

The delivery process goes something like this: you and a friend pick up about 10-15 of the pre-assembled, pre-addressed gift bags, and get them delivered before the end of April- anytime that works for you and your side-kick (we recommend teams of 2 people). The idea is to meet new residents face to face, say hello and welcome to the neighborhood, share a little bit about yourself, the Castro, and invite them to check out EVNA and to stop in the shops and restaurants with these specials included in the gift bag. Sounds pretty fun and easy! We've got a conversation guide if you need it, and a system to deal with recipients who might not be home the first time.

Volunteers had a great time putting all the bags together, and it's going to be a lot of fun getting them delivered. I know from experience, that the more I invest my time in helping others to feel connected, I somehow walk away with the same gift- it's a great feeling. If you'd like to help with delivery of the Castro Welcome Packs, email me and I'll get you connected!

mark.mchale@evna.org

Collingwood park: past, present, and a better future?

Although officially known as the Eureka Valley Recreation Center (EVRC) which includes the indoor facilities, dog run, playground, baseball diamond, and tennis court, many longtime residents and visitors still refer to the outdoor area Between Collingwood and Diamond along 19th street as Collingwood Park.  A quick web search (and a conversation with anyone who has lived in the neighborhood more than a few years) will tell you that Collingwood Park has been a prime cruising destination for years.  While Corona Park, Kite Hill, and Dolores Park are each about ½ mile walk from the Eureka Valley Rec Center, the proximity of the EVRC to the commercial corridor on Castro makes it the most accessible green space for local residents and visitors alike.  The mixed history of the park and oversized fences surrounding it have made the park more of an afterthought than a central gathering and recreation space for Castro residents. The playground/children’s indoor playroom and the dog run are undoubtedly the most heavily used portions of the complex in recent years - let’s look into the history of the park and how it came to be the way it is today.

Collingwood Park was purchased by the City of San Francisco in the early 1950s.  A recent historic context statement detailing the past of Eureka Valley/Castro neighborhood reveals how the park came to be: “In 1939, the city began planning for a park in the center of the Eureka Valley district for the first time, authorizing purchases of property on the south end of the block bounded by 18th, Collingwood,  Diamond, and 19th streets, though World War II and lack of funds and materials delayed action for more than a decade. In 1947, San Francisco voters passed a $12 million bond measure for new playgrounds and recreation spaces. With these funds, Eureka Valley finally got its own recreation area: the Eureka Valley Playground. The city acquired the last necessary property on the block in 1950 and broke ground  on the new playground facility in June 1951. . . . The original building, designed by the architecture firm Appleton & Wolford, contained a gymnasium, auditorium, and activity rooms. The city completed a $4 million renovation and addition project on the recreation center in 2006 that included a new 1,000‐square‐foot building and 2,100 square foot expansion, new playground area, and new fencing.”

The very first Hunky Jesus Contest and Children’s Easter egg roll hosted by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence were held in the early nineties in the park. The last major renovation of the park was over 13 years ago according to the SF Parks Alliance website. Over the years many bushes and trees surrounding the park have been removed to deter cruising and unwanted activity from people using the park overnight.  Residents have complained that the park does not contain anywhere to sit on a sunny day, and the baseball field and tennis court are often sitting empty. The dog run is in need of major renovation, despite consistent efforts from Collingwood Dog Park Friends, an organization that hosts cleanup and maintenance days for the dog run.  In October 2018, EVNA activated the space by hosting the first Movie Night in the Park on the baseball diamond.

An informal survey of neighbors who live on Collingwood Street or use the children’s playground reveals that on windy days the urine-soaked dust from the dog park blows into their homes and onto the playground where children are playing.  There is no way to enter any part of the park from 19th street, and in order to access the grassy field one must walk through a gate on Diamond or Collingwood street and then another gate to enter the park itself which often appears locked.  The concrete bleachers along Diamond street are the only place to sit that are not a part of the playground or dog run, and are often littered with used syringes, discarded clothing, and food waste.

Six years ago, longtime Castro resident and EVNA board member Rob Anderson wrote in the Eureka “The redesign that occurred ten years ago was a decent attempt to allocate space and placate the needs of interested groups, however as you walk around the outside, the result is more reminiscent of a prison yard than an inviting green space. The densely fenced in areas create a feeling of restriction and barriers in a city and neighborhood that tries so hard to be welcoming and inclusive.”  I would argue not much has changed since that time aside from another six years of aging and wear-and-tear.

Efforts have been proposed to reimagine the public space.  In 2012, the group Friends of Collingwood Park formed and drafted a proposal to decrease the scale of fencing as well as add additional entrances to the park.  In 2017 an EVNA member submitted a participatory budgeting proposal to improve the dog run and replant missing trees from the perimeter of the park, which was not funded by the City.

Inspired by other nearby parks that have had substantial improvements in recent years, renewed efforts are underway to make Collingwood Park an accessible and user-friendly community recreation space in line with the SF Recreation and Park Department’s mission “to provide enriching recreational activities, maintain beautiful parks and preserve the environment for the well-being of everyone in our diverse community.”

Some neighbors have suggested removing or lowering fences, constructing a perimeter walking/running path around the park, adding trees and picnic tables in or near the grassy area, and redesigning the dog run with improved furniture, materials, and greenscaping.  Looking at the history of parks around the city that have seen major improvements - most notably Dolores Park and Duboce Park - those changes were prompted by neighbors and residents who advocated for change, working with the City and the Parks Alliance to gather community input and obtain funding for the changes they sought.

Any change to the park must be carefully considered in the context of current quality-of-life issues that confront the Castro today.  How do we create a welcoming space that doesn’t encourage people to leave trash, camp out, or cruise for sex in our newly redesigned public space?  How can we provide a place for a retiree to eat a sandwich or read a newspaper on a sunny afternoon without encroaching on the little league teams that battle it out on Saturday mornings?  Where will our canine friends be allowed to roam free if not in a safe, fenced area? If you have ideas for how we can answer these questions, or think you know how we can improve Collingwood Park/Eureka Valley Rec Center for our human and canine friends and neighbors, we look forward to hearing from you at our next meeting!

Working to Improve Life in Eureka Valley Since 1881