Juri Commons gets an upgrade, but some find it falls flat

Families, fitness enthusiasts and dreamy adults flocked to the reopening of the small park hidden in the southwest corner of the Mission on Monday.

Kids ate popsicles and blew bubbles, and young and old who live near the old railway right-of-way inspected the new features of the mini-park, having done without the small but beloved green space during the pandemic.

Juri Commons Park, which has been closed for a $ 1.9 million renovation for over a year, forms a narrow diagonal strip that begins near Juri Street and San Jose Ave., and ends near the streets 26th and Guerrero.

Its unusual orientation and shape comes from the fact that Juri Commons is where the San Jose Railroad once ran through the mission: if you zoom in on a map, you can follow the diagonal line to 22nd and 22nd streets. Harrison, orienting the buildings and forming a triangular green. spaces along its path.

The designers adopted the story of the trains from Juri Commons when they leveled the aging yard and replaced the cracked walkway: a large mural of a train that was on display before the renovation has been refurbished, and rails are built into the new smooth sidewalk and much more accessible.

“The path was cratered, the irrigation system had collapsed,” Dave Schweisguth, leader of the Juri Commoners neighborhood group, wrote to Mission Local in an email. “The center of the park gets flooded every winter (making the park completely impassable!).”

The new catwalk is really “very smooth,” said Ludo, 5, enthusiastically, slipping into his sneakers. Over a dozen other children happily ran around the playground.

But some adult park visitors have wondered what happened to the winding path that made a walk through the previous iteration of the small park a little more dynamic.

“I liked the windy one better,” said Sloane Sandy, Ludo’s mom. “The windy was more interesting. ”

Sandy added that while her youngest child had a lot to do, she felt like Ludo was probably going to get too big for the park – and indeed, a sign on the playground wall said he was designed. for children two to five years old.

Two children swing at Juri Commons on the day it reopens.

The new playground includes a set of two small slides, a pair of swings, and monkey bars. The adjacent play area features logs, tree stumps and rocks, described in the Rec and Parks press release as “an area of ​​nature exploration where children can exercise their bodies and imaginations.” .

Even with the concept of creativity in mind at the design stage, however, in practice some residents have found the park to have literally fallen flat.

“I was hoping there would be more climbing structures and a gym in the jungle,” said Laura Zimmerman, who was there with her 14-month-old on all fours. Zimmerman liked the recycled materials, but seemed disappointed with some of the “passive playground stuff”.

“Preview, it’s okay,” said Bill Lambertson, a 19-year-old resident. “It sounds a bit… antiseptic.”

Families try out Juri Commons’ new playground.

And while Lambertson said he would always come, he lacks the old park’s “pleasant feng shui”, which he affectionately described as “a little wilder.”

Meanwhile, Julissa Mejia said in Spanish that she liked that there was now more space for her two-and-a-half-year-old to run. Plus, she says, the green spaces are pretty.

Park visitors who were present on the first day back – although they all lived within a few blocks of the park – lamented not being involved in the planning of the new park, which, according to Juri Commoners’ Schweisguth, involved broad community participation.

“Rec & Parks held a series of community meetings during the design, which resulted in significant changes from the original design,” said Schweisguth, who said he sought community input during the design. drafting of grant applications.

A grand reopening took place on Monday, attended by the Mayor of London Breed, District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman and representatives from various organizations such as the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department, the San Francisco Parks Alliance and the Juri Commoners.

“Juri Commons may be a small park, but it plays a big role in the lives of the many neighbors who visit it daily,” Mandelman said. “After these renovations, Juri Commons is even more accessible for all who come here to play with their children, walk their dogs and enjoy this urban oasis of the Mission.”

Juri Commons is the ninth of 13 playgrounds that the Let’sPlaySF initiative will renovate in San Francisco, according to San Francisco Parks Alliance CEO Drew Becher.

A bicycle at the Juri Commons playground. In the background, the sign reads “This playground is designed for children from 2 to 5 years old”. Photo by Eleni Balakrishnan
New exercise equipment at Juri Commons

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