Noe Valley Voice September 1999

It's GameTime at Douglass Park

By Sally Smith

The children's sandbox at Douglass Playground will be closed for two weeks, from Sept. 1 to 12, and the park's play structures and old swing sets will be torn down. But don't despair. Clap your hands. More than $15,000 in new play equipment, recently donated by a manufacturer called GameTime (see Voice July/August issue), is being installed by the city.

Debra Niemann of the Noe Valley Neighborhood Parks Improvement Association says the new equipment should be ready to ride by Monday, Sept. 13.

"This is only Phase One of the Douglass Park renovation, but it's really exciting," she says. "They are putting in a large play structure, which is dark green, yellow, brown, and cranberry, and has two plain slides, two curling slides, ramps, walkways, huts, and lots of things to hang on and run across." She adds that four swings -- two bucket and two regular -- and a red, yellow, and blue fire truck with a roof will also be installed in the next two weeks.

Niemann, a resident of 23rd Street, is one of "three or four key moms" who over the past year have marshalled the park improvements through the city bureaucracy. They include Krista Keegan of 26th Street, Cathy Scharetg of 23rd, "and Dorthe Deubler of Eureka Street, who initiated things and is truly wonderful."

But the NVNPIA members also want to thank the neighborhood for its generous support. "The response from Noe Valley residents, merchants, and community members -- people with children and people without children -- has been terrific. We've raised $4,500, which has enabled us to put in the fire truck play station," Niemann says.

The group hopes to raise another $15,000 for a new "Whirl" merry-go-round, to be installed next year as part of Phase Two. And Niemann says Friends of Recreation and Park has agreed to match all contributions dollar for dollar.

Make your check payable to Friends of Recreation and Parks, but be sure to note "Douglass Park Renovation" on the memo line, she says. (The tax i.d. number is 23-7131784, and donations are tax-deductible.) Then mail it to the Noe Valley Neighborhood Parks Improvement Association c/o Debra Niemann at 4171 23rd St., San Francisco, CA 94114.

Niemann says give her a call at 647-8165 if you have questions about the proj-ect or would like to join the association, which has not only adopted Douglass Park but Noe Courts on 24th Street. Fixing the parks "is a labor of love," she says, but the rewards are palpable.