With the city's highest number of children per capita — but limited outdoor space — the Tenderloin is dependent on play spaces like the Turk-Hyde Mini-Park. Occupying 6,500 square feet at the corner of Turk and Hyde streets, the park caters to younger children, including those that attend preschool nearby.
This afternoon, the park will reopen after a nine-month closure for renovations. New plastic and metal play structures have replaced the worn-out old set, which was made of copper and arsenic-treated wood. There's also a new shaded seating area for parents and caregivers.
Major renovations of the Turk-Hyde Mini-Park and nearby Sgt. John Macaulay Park (at O’Farrell and Larkin streets) have been in the works for several years. Because of the Tenderloin's high youth density and low median income, both were tagged as priorities for the 2012 Let’s Play SF bond, which earmarked about $15.5 million to improve the worst of the city’s playgrounds.
Rec and Park partnered with the SF Parks Alliance to select 13 priority playgrounds, including the two in the Tenderloin, awarding the Turk-Hyde project $1 million from the 2012 bond funding and $700,000 from the office of former mayor Ed Lee.
A new mural by Sylvester Guard, Jr. was added to the wall overlooking the park at the end of 2019, thanks to a collaboration between the Tenderloin Community Benefit District and the building's owners, the Murphy family.
UC Hastings Law, the Dolmen Property Group and the Handlery Foundation contributed funds towards the mural, which depicts flowers and hummingbirds. Guard said the mural doesn’t have a title, because he prefers to let the viewer decide how to interpret his work.
Guard, who has lived in the Tenderloin for 26 years, recently completed another mural at the Seneca Hotel, where he used to reside. He has installed murals across San Francisco, and says the Tenderloin “deserves reflective and respectable art.”
Meanwhile, the $1.98 million renovation at Sgt. Macaulay Park, funded by Let's Play SF and the Trust for Public Land, is still underway. The park is also set to get new, safer equipment and improved seating, along with the removal of a few trees to create a more open play space in its center.
As with the Turk-Hyde Mini Park, a building facing Macaulay Park now bears a mural of flowers, painted by San Francisco-based muralist Fnnch. Rec and Park did not respond to queries as to when the park will reopen.
The formal ribbon cutting for the Turk-Hyde Mini Park is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. today and will feature remarks from Mayor London Breed, Tenderloin District station captain Carl Fabbri, District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney, and representatives of several neighborhood groups.
Kids' activities will include art making, collaborative coloring with a muralist, and a musical performance, city officials said.