A weekly gathering place in Noe Valley could become a permanent fixture in the community as part of an open-space project.
For years, the Saturday farmers market on 24th Street has acted as an impromptu meeting spot for neighborhood residents. However, the site is a parking lot for the remaining six days, and there are no officially designated public spaces in the heart of Noe Valley.
That could change soon. As part of a long-planned community push, the Recreation and Park Department is poised to purchase the lot — owned by the Noe Valley Ministry — and transform it into a public open space.
Todd David of the Residents For Noe Valley Town Square said the huge turnout every week for the farmers market proved that the people of the community want and need a central gathering place.
“How often do you get to create a public park in the middle of your neighborhood?” David asked. “This could be precedent for other cities to follow.”
Purchasing the lot will not be cheap. The Recreation and Park Commission will vote today on whether to spend $4.2 million from its open-space fund — the first time it’s been used in a decade — to buy the land.
“The site has already clearly demonstrated its positive benefits,” said Rec and Park general manager Phil Ginsburg. David’s group has raised nearly $500,000 in donations to pay for amenity improvements at the location, and the residents’ organization and Rec and Park have applied for an additional $720,000 state grant.
The residents hope to add two play areas, a stage for musical performances, additional trees and a more permeable surface to replace the asphalt, David said. The farmers market will remain a centerpiece of the space.
Rec and Park hopes to acquire the lot by July 1, and until the funding arrives, it will act as an unimproved public open space, Ginsburg said.
Supervisor Scott Wiener, whose district includes the site, introduced legislation Tuesday that would enable the purchase.
“This has been a truly bottoms-up, grass-roots effort led by community members in Noe Valley,” Wiener said. “Their ongoing commitment proves how much this neighborhood needs this park.”