Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 11 / 15 March 2018

Dolores Park playground to open; group promotes themed picnics at gay section

The first project in a multi-year-long revamp of San Francisco’s beloved Dolores Mission Park will be unveiled to the public later this month.

City officials and civic leaders will be on hand Saturday, March 31 for a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new Helen Diller Playground in the 17 acre green space that borders the Castro and Mission neighborhoods.

The Mercer Fund donated $1.5 million toward the construction costs on behalf of the playground’s namesake. Diller is a noted Bay Area philanthropist whose donations have benefited a wide swath of local organizations and institutions.

Funding from the 2008 Parks Bond and the city’s general fund also paid for the new play area near the 20th Street and Dolores entrance to Dolores Park.

The site now has several unique features, including a central play mound that will have an ADA-accessible suspension bridge, built-in slide and climbing nets; custom-made ship wrecked boats; and a super slide built into the natural hillside behind the playground.

The dedication starts at 2:30 p.m. and will include music and entertainment for children and families.

In related news, a new Facebook page has been launched called The Fruit Shelf.  It refers to the section of the hillside above the new playground where gay men and their cohorts gather on sunny days. It also is known as the park’s “gay beach.”

One of the organizers is Brian McConnell, a gay resident who used to help organize roving bar crawls under the moniker of Guerrilla Queer Bar. The Fruit Shelf group is aimed at throwing themed picnics at Dolores Park and will start up in April.

“Kind of like the theme camps at Burning Man,” explained McConnell, adding as one example “imagine turning the area into a beach, with a lifeguard stand, ocean audio effects, etc.”

There are “lots of possibilities, and I think once it gets rolling, it will take on a life of its own,” he added.

The Facebook page is open to the public and anyone can join.

— Matthew S. Bajko, March 12, 2012 @ 1:32 pm PST
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