City Plans to Demolish Trellis at Esmeralda/Winfield Mini Park, Has No Plan to Rebuild



The delightful Esmeralda/Winfield Mini Park is suffering from old age, and an indifferent City bureaucracy has no plans to keep the mini-park in proper order. In fact, the City plans to tear down part of the park in coming days. Eeek!

This will be a great loss for Bernal Heights, so Neighbors Nancy and Joan catch us up on what’s happening, and how you can help:

The wooden structures at the MiniPark were built with community input in the late 1970s. The structures haven’t been maintained, leaving them to deteriorate into their current state.

Now the trellis is slated to be removed within a week! The planter box surrounding the big pepper tree is also due to be removed, timeline unknown. The remaining picnic table and benches haven’t been mentioned as part of the takedown, but they have rot as well.

With a kick-ass slide, a stairway that goes up to Bernal Hill, and a place to sit, rest and hang, the MiniPark is a real gem in our neighborhood. It needs a serious upgrade, but the City hasn’t committed any funds or created any plans other than a piecemeal teardown. SF Public Works sent out a memo to the neighborhood saying:


Without our pressure on the City to make the rebuild a priority, the plaza will slowly disappear or be fixed in a haphazard fashion.

Please send an email NOW, to Supervisor David Campos at telling him his office needs to look into funding the replacement of the deteriorated structures at the Winfield/Esmeralda MiniPark.

Look for future Bernalwood posts to let you know how to stay involved.

This is sad and bad.

As a historical reminder, this announcement from 1979 tells us much about the community origins of the Winfield Mini-Park, and how the City once paired with Bernal neighbors to help make the park so lovely. Let’s hope that can happen again:

Esmeralda Mini-Parkflier020379

PHOTO: Neighbors Nancy and Joan

35 thoughts on “City Plans to Demolish Trellis at Esmeralda/Winfield Mini Park, Has No Plan to Rebuild

  1. This is indeed a loss. Are there plans to rally against this move? Any neighbors willing to pitch in and re-build, or mobilize the City with an adequate care plan? This spot is a gem, and often center of frolic and connection.

  2. Any reason why neighbors can’t simply band together to repair the structure? Park & Rec has been doing a great job renovating Dolores Park and other massive projects throughout the City. They simply may not have the money to make this repair. If this is valued by the neighborhood then the neighborhood should have a “fix our park” day

      • An opportunity for covert action? Maybe instead of a “fix our park” day…we have a “fix our park” night? Although, may as well let the City to the demolition and haul away the rotting wood. Then it’s just about building something new

    • To any and all who do write to Campos: Please report back here on the response (if any), as well as any updates that are provided on next steps on the City’s part. Thanks.

      • My husband and I have been planting in the park area adjacent to the stairs for the past 4 years. We’ve put in countless plants, hardscape to support them, and the stringers along the stairs to keep soil off the steps. We’ve had lots of discussions with the City, especially, DPW, about getting assistance with a drip irrigation system but to no avail. They’ve given us nothing but access to City water which was already in place probably because of the park’s creation in the 70s. What I’ve learned from this experience is if we want to have the City work with us, we need to create a plan, a core group of volunteers, a budget, a way of coming up with private funds, present to the City in the way of applying for a grant, then if they accept our proposal, they’ll match our funds. If not this exact scenario, something of the sort.
        I’m checking what grants are out there and their timelines and I’ll post what info I find . Meanwhile, let’s keep our voices heard by contacting David Campos so he’s totally aware of how widespread the community is that wants to keep the Plaza alive!

      • I’ve heard the same story as Joan from the city regarding my own efforts on Bradford st in south Bernal. It’s a little annoying that they rely so much on neighbors in my opinion. We pay extremely high property taxes and just passed a bond to fix SF parks. Why doesn’t any of that money ever come back to Bernal Heights? I’ve broken my back more days than I care to tending to something that doesn’t belong to me. The city needs to do a better job of supporting people (who have their own full time jobs I might add) if they want their involvement. Don’t they have professional organizers that can help? We are fortunate enough to have plenty of neighbors who can volunteer but expecting a group of neighbors to basically form their own non-profit organization seems a bit much to me.

      • Neighbor Demece has been undergoing the same struggle to keep Precita park beautiful and some of the neighboring adjacent green areas.

  3. It would be great to add some boilerplate for emails here. Here’s what I just sent. It could stand a lot of improvment–don’t have much time at work:

    Subject: Please fund the replacement of the deteriorated structures at the Winfield/Esmeralda MiniPark.

    Dear Supervisor Campos,

    Please fund the replacement of the deteriorated structures at the Winfield/Esmeralda MiniPark. Maintaining this park is important. It demonstrates that the stairway up to Bernal Hill is a neighborhood recreation area, and not an unmaintained corridor ripe for misuse an illegal activity. Additionally the playground slide at this park is unique for its length and its safety. This park is a real gem that add lots of character to our neighborhood.



  4. That’s a shame, that thing is nice. Why can’t it be the one at the Coleridge mini park instead?

  5. Ridiculous short lead time. Really? “Immediate safety hazard?” The repair work mentioned in the letter from DPW was done probably over 6-9 months ago, but it is now referred to as an “immediate safety hazard?”

    Surprised that no feedback or community participation requests were offered. Bad community relations!

    Hope a plan for improvement and more notice re options, fundraising, etc. can be discussed to make this park better.

  6. Just received this from Hillary R:


    I have an urgent call into DPW to try and stop this. Will be in touch when we hear.

    Thanks for bringing to our attention.

    • That’s a good idea. But even before fundingraising, I think we really need a Michael Nolan for the 21st century — a committed project coordinator.

      Fortunately, the original 20th century Michael Nolan is also around to advise. 😉

  7. Is it too late to include the mini park into Calle 24?! Action would be swift, aggressive, and the park might even be expanded. @campos

    We should be writing Fienstien, considering she has a close connection to Bernal, not only this mini park, but pretty sure she made the hilltop the park that it is too. Plus she can fund the renovation herself, she has mega bucks.

  8. I remember Willie Brown sliding down the new slide when it went in – what a sight! I’d be happy to help rebuild the trellis although it’s hard to believe that DPW can’t afford to do it.

  9. Count me in as a volunteer for any group that organizes (whether it be for advocacy or helping rebuild or anything else). Letters to Campos and their LAs sent. Thanks for the templates, everyone. Any other ideas about how to spread the word for our neighbors who may not be on Bernalwood?

    As an aside, SFgate mentioned the Winfield slide in one of their ubiquitous ‘what locals do/things not to miss/spots to go before you die/237 super secret spots in SF’ slideshows today:

  10. Just found this in my inbox
    Ronen, Hillary
    3:57 PM (9 minutes ago)

    to me
    Mr. Taylor,

    We are thrilled to report that we were able to secure funding for replacement of the Trellis through the City’s budget process. Thank you so much for bringing this issue to our attention. It has been a pleasure to see to the neighborhood so united over a common treasure and we really appreciate your advocacy. DPW has assured us that as soon as the funding is allocated to the department, it will replace the Trellis. The original structure is set to come down next week. The final City Budget is approved on July 21st. We will be working closely with DPW to make sure the replacement structure is built as soon as possible.

    Kind regards,

    Hillary Ronen
    Chief of Staff
    Supervisor David Campos
    City Hall
    1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 244
    San Francisco, CA 94102-4689
    Phone: 415-554-7739

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  12. I was born & raised in San Francisco. In the late 1970’s,my friends,neighbors & sisters helped build Esmerelda Park. I enjoyed every minute of helping where I could @ such a young age. At completion of the park,we had the honor to watch Mayor Dianne Feinstein be the first one to slide down this remarkable slide thats an icon for this place. It would be devastating to condemn such a family friendly & easy access to Bernal Heights which this is well known.

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