Youth in the neighborhood – Jan. 2011 General Meeting Recap

The HVNA January 27th, 2011 general meeting was busy with five presentations. The first three presentations focused on upcoming opportunities for our youth in the neighborhood with benefits for the community at large.

Rob Connolly, the President of Boys & Girls Clubs in San Francisco (BGCSF), presented the possibility of having a new Boys and Girls Club built in Hayes Valley in the existing parking lot at on the north east side of the intersection at Gough and Fulton. This site and development has BGCSF excited about the possibility of creating a 25,000 square foot facility that would have a regulation-size high school gymnasium and a full-sized swimming pool. This would benefit all the Boys and Girls Clubs in San Francisco. The concept of this new facility is in its infancy, but could be a good addition to the neighborhood. Several neighbors expressed their opinion to encourage housing to be built on this site in conjunction with the possible Boys and Girls Club. The HVNA will keep an eye on this project as it moves forward.

To learn more about the BGCSF as well as to give comments about the project you saw tonight go to this link or call the BGCSF general office line to get connected with someone about your concerns/questions at 415-445-KIDS (5437).

The Hayes Valley Playground at the south east corner of Buchanan and Hayes is entering its final months of construction. A project update was given by Jennifer Isacoff from the Trust for Public Lands, Lev Kushner, Assistant Director for Strategic Partnerships with San Francisco Recreation and Park Department and Jacob Gilchrist, Project Manager, Capital Division from the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department. Emily LoSavio, Executive Director of Opportunity Impact outlined a partnership between the Hayes Valley Playground and the eight, nine and ten year olds of Opportunity Impact’s youth. About thirty students will get to be stewards and partners to the Playground from 2-6PM during the week. Opportunity Impact provides a program for students from the forth grade through the eighth grade where they can develop personal skills, academic skills and career skills in a safe and inspirational setting. LoSavio noted that these students are in the program for 1000 hours a year and are encouraged to participate in the program for all five years to really help the individuals grow.

Many members of the HVNA have been instrumental in getting community support and city support to make this renovation of the playground happen. We look forward to its opening ceremony this spring – hopefully in April or May.

John Muir Elementary School’s Principal Chris Rosenberg came to give a status update of the school. He said the school is continuing to focus on reading. Rosenberg said the school is using the “Balanced Literacy Method”. He is also working hard to get parents involved. He has assembled a group of parents that make up the School Site Council. Rosenberg was asked about the green schoolyard project. He said he has waited on that to get other more pressing issues worked out, but the greening of the schoolyard will now begin to take place in the spring.

Rosenberg encourages potential parents and students to visit the school and see what they think of the feel of the teachers, students and space in the classrooms. If you would like to get involved with the parents’ group or get more information on the school call 241-6335. Contact LaTisha Irving.

Michael Schwartz and Rachel Hiatt from the San Francisco County Transportation Authority came to present the current status of the Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit Proposal. Draft environmental studies and engineering should be completed by this summer. Then the SFCTA would like to return to the HVNA to present their findings on the various options of bus and traffic configurations presented at tonight’s meeting. For more information visit Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit Proposal. The project’s are to improve the speed and efficiency of the 47 and 49 SF Muni buses as well as the Golden Gate Transit buses and to increase ridership and use of mass-transit while making automobile traffic run just as smoothly as it runs today.

Jason Henderson, Chair of the Hayes Valley Transportation and Planning Committee, emphasized the importance of improving mass-transit and increasing ridership through improved efficiency and easy of use. Improving transit is a critical part of the Market/Octavia Neighborhood Plan. If you would like to give comments on this project you can email Henderson at

District Five Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi dropped into the meeting to outline some of the issues he is addressing in the neighborhood and throughout the city. He discussed two-way Hayes, John Muir Elementary, a circulation study he would like to see on Fell and Oak from HV all the way to the western districts, U.C. Campus and the America’s Cup. Mirkarimi said he is concerned about neighborhood safety and invites all to attend a Public Safety Meeting on February 7th at 7PM at the Korean American Community Center, 745 Buchanan Street. You can contact his office at 415-554-7630.

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