President’s Message

It’s a new year…2019. We have many promises and challenges in the coming year. As I said after the 2016 election, act locally, and your efforts will be felt.

I’m in my last few months as HVNA’s president. Serving for 3 years, it is now time for a new board of directors and president to guide our community forward. I feel great in stepping down, not because I feel relieved of the president’s responsibilities, but because I look forward to a new set of leaders who have emerged in our community. Our new board members have already identified “Equity” as a significant issue for our community. They are beginning to define what Equity means in action for the coming year.

One of my goals was to help others feel the power of acting locally. Our current Board of Directors has felt that empowerment and have passed it on in their own ways. Passionate commitment to a goal is one way to feel empowered, especially when you inspire the same passion in others. Volunteer work is paid in successful empowerment.

Our work continues to monitor the Market/Octavia Better Neighborhood Plan, which HVNA fought to be passed by the Board of Supervisors, now 10 years ago. Implementing the Plan meant we all agreed on infill housing wherever possible, increasing the density of housing in Hayes Valley, while still preserving a newly emerging neighborhood character. Of course, there are new residents who struggle with some of the Plan, but the vision is clear: Transit first, green spaces, affordable housing, excellent architectural design, historic preservation, and encouraging local artists and promoting their practices. HVNA and its merchants later helped enact the first anti-chain store ban in the nation for Hayes Valley. The ban has helped incubate new businesses and attempted to protect local merchants.

New housing developments will begin construction: Three Octavia Boulevard land parcels will break ground in January: One at Octavia at Page, and two at Octavia between Fell and Oak. All three will have below market rate housing on site, and will be car-free. The remaining 3 parcels on the Boulevard will be 100% affordable housing. And we are nearing the end of the temporary uses of the two land parcels across from Patricia’s Green. They are dearly treasured, and discussions are ongoing about how to incorporate the wonderful activities at both sites and still build needed affordable and market rate housing in Hayes Valley. The PROXY site will be 100% affordable housing and the Biergarten site will be market rate housing. Making sure that the ground level is accessible and open, reflecting what we all love about the current uses will be important to include in the new building designs.

Keep your eye out for new art installations at the Hayes Valley Art Works (Octavia between Oak and Page), a new Patricia’s Green sculpture installation, new murals going in on Octavia Boulevard and alley streets, and a newly formed “Art On Site” group that will collaborate with 5 neighborhoods, Hayes Valley, Lower Haight, Divisadero Street Merchants/NOPA, the Fillmore, and Alamo Square, to install temporary murals, sculptures, and galleries for walking tours of the neighborhoods.

And if something inspires you, contact HVNA ( or and let’s discuss your passion. As always, we’d love to have you and your neighbors all become members to support our work.

And, we’re always looking for member volunteers on our committees…greening (includes trash cleanup), families and children, public safety, transportation and planning, and Hayes Valley Art Works/ArtEntertainmentCulture, membership, and communication. We also have the HVNA Homelessness Task Force, too, as we struggle with homelessness and drug use on our streets. Choose your passion!!

See you in our ‘hood.

-Gail Baugh