Recreation and Park Department seeks new ways to close deficit

Officials at the Recreation and Park Department have come up with a solution to close their $12.4 million deficit, and residents aren’t very happy with the solution.

The officials decided to raise revenues by putting various moneymaking ventures such as coffee vendors, open-air markets and skating rinks in parks and plazas, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. They have faced strong pockets of resistance from businesses who don’t want competition and residents who aren’t comfortable with commercial enterprises in public parks.

In October, Blue Bottle Coffee halted plans to operate a mobile beverage stand in Dolores Park after opponents circulated a petition, threatened a boycott and waged a public relations campaign to keep the coffee company out of the park. The Recreation and Park Department stood to earn $1,000 per month from the agreement with the company.

The recent stage production of Peter Pan that took place in Ferry Park brought in $600,000 for the department, according to ABC 7. 

Two proposals will be looked into Thursday by the Recreation and Park Commission that will bring in money and more public input. Officials will decide whether to grant a new long-term lease to a company to take over Golden Gate Park’s historic Stow Lake boat rental and concession. It would mean ousting a family that has had the job for more than 65 years, but the city would gain at least $140,000 a year in rent plus upgrades to the building and a new fleet of boats.

They will also look into a proposal to allow an organic ice cream vendor to sell cones along the Marina Green.

Opponents have been successful in keeping the park department from setting up an open-air market at Justin Herman Plaza, though the idea remains on the table. Critics lost a battle with city officials over the plan to start charging out-of-town visitors admission to the Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park.

The department has budgeted about $8 million in new revenue this year, with around $1 million of that coming from new concessions, said Katharine Petrucione, the agency’s finance chief. Parking fees, program and admission fees and facility rentals account for much of the rest. Despite some setbacks with concession plans, she said the department is on track to hit those projections.


critics lost a battle?

There was no battle, because the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society paid corrupt lobbyist Sam Lauter tens of thousands of dollars to buy off the labor unions and the "progressive" supervisors.