These three sites are where we need to put our energy as of now. SFRPD is trying to ignore our cries to listen to child development experts, hoping that if they cover their ears and smile, they can push through their sand-free (read: maintenance-free) agenda like the first three playgrounds. We can't let them.
Notice something missing from this survey? Does this look like SFRPD is asking for feedback on sand, or like they want you to forget it exists?
We've already made some progress - we went from a "no sand policy" to sand being determined on a "site by site basis" (both quotes from public officials working with SFRPD). But we can't just make noise about our own neighborhood playground. Why should kids whose parents don't know the benefits of sand play or don't have the ability to advocate for it lose out on this essential play resource?
If there is truly no sand ban, then let's talk about sand at EVERY playground redesign meeting, not just the ones where loud parents bring it up. This is a city-wide issue; this is an equity issue.
The next community meeting for McLaren Playground is on Tuesday October 17 at 5:30, and for the Panhandle Playground is Thursday October 19 at 6:00. Please attend, please force SFRPD to talk about sand, to consider sand, to listen to the benefits of sand.
And don't forget your plate! :-)
Hopefully children of all neighborhoods can retain access to sand, and maybe we won't have to fight just to have this conversation when the final 7 playgrounds come up for their redesign:
7. Buchanan Street Mall
8. Golden Gate Heights Park
9. Herz Playground
10. Juri Commons
11. Richmond Playground
12. Sigmund Stern Recreation Grove
13. West Portal Playground
*The project manager at John McLaren Park told me "there hasn’t been any community desire expressed for sand at our project," which I interpreted to mean that SFRPD hasn't brought it up so parents haven't known they need to express a desire. The same project manager said there is a possibility that they may restore a small sand area "if our budget allows", and they will hopefully bring this option to the next community meeting.