Every three months the Recreation and Parks Department (RPD) and the Controller’s Office rate the city’s 166 parks, playgrounds and civic plazas on a wide array of criteria covering built facilities and natural areas.
The findings are sliced and diced and published in an annual report covering the fiscal year– July 2021 through June 2022–and has just been released.
For each park scores from last fiscal year are compared with FY20, because there were no surveys in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
FY22 park maintenance scores were generally unchanged from pre-pandemic levels in FY20. RPD met or exceeded its target goal for the citywide average score in FY19, FY20, and FY22.
Read Executive Summary here.
The categories that are evaluated are athletic fields, buildings, children’s play areas, dog play areas, greenspace, hardscape, lawns, ornamental beds, outdoor courts, restrooms, table areas, and trees.
There are 295 standards by which the recreation areas are measured. The features that are evaluated depend upon the nature of the venue.
Here is a sample Maintenance Scorecard.
Two of our local neighborhoods were in the group of the highest scoring parks in FY22: Sunnyside Conservatory tied for first place with three other parks with a perfect 100 score, while George Christopher Playground in Diamond Heights came in at #17 with a score of 97.5.
Ever since Glen Canyon Park underwent a $12 million renovation of its facilities and green spaces with funding from the 2012 Parks bond, its high scores have held relatively steady by standards first used in 2015.
This year Glen Canyon Park’s score is 95.2, or 4.3 points below the citywide score. Its annual score decreased by 0.5% whereas the city overall increased by 0.1%.
The lowest scoring feature in Glen Canyon Park was for its athletic fields. With a score of 73.9 it was almost 16 points below the citywide average.
However, Tamara Aparton of Rec and Park explains that “Glen Park was only rated in one of the four quarters.The primary issues were some gopher mounds, bare spots, and some graffiti,” which have been mitigated since the period covered by the report. Aparton also says there is a new gardener on site who has been able to control the gophers. He’s also going to put up owl boxes in the canyon to encourage raptors to provide some natural rodent control.
As to graffiti, she notes that it’s either cleaned or reported to paint staff in a timely manner.
Natural features in Glen Canyon Park hit a homerun, scoring 100 for its greenspace, lawns and ornamental beds. Hardscape also scored 100.
Regular surveillance and evaluation of the city’s parks goes a long way toward keeping them in condition to provide continuing enjoyment of their facilities and natural features.