San Francisco Receives $8.1 Million in Federal Funding for Buchanan Street Mall Project

New lighting, landscaping, and information kiosks will build on efforts over the last 10 years to make this pedestrian walkway a more welcoming open space for people of all ages
March 29, 2024

San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today announced that San Francisco has received an $8.1 million federal grant that will be dedicated to the renovation of three of five blocks of the Buchanan Street Mall Project in the Western Addition neighborhood. The funding will allow for the addition of many amenities including a performance stage and seating areas, a picnic and barbecue area, multiple playgrounds, an adult exercise area, and a half court for multi-sports. 

U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, announced the funding Wednesday as part of $58.3 million in new investments to create public parks, expand recreation opportunities and restore outdoor ecosystems in 11 states. The new funding from the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program (ORLP) will increase equitable outdoors access for underserved communities.   

Buchanan Street Mall stretches five consecutive blocks between Eddy and Grove streets in the Western Addition. Renovation of the other two blocks is supported by a $3.9 million ORLP grant that was awarded in 2022. Construction on the project is anticipated to begin this fall.  

"As someone who grew up in the Western Addition, I know how special this community is for so many including me, and I am especially thankful for this funding that will bring enhancements to an outdoor space for neighbors and residents to enjoy,” said Mayor Breed. “By creating spaces for creativity, play, and intergenerational connection, we are providing spaces and opportunities for generations to come. I thank President Biden and our federal partners for their support to make San Francisco even more vibrant and equitable." 

"In San Francisco, we take great pride in our public spaces, which are free and open for San Franciscans of all ages to enjoy,” said Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi. “This new $8.1 million federal investment will help us transform Buchanan Street Mall with a host of spaces and amenities, building an inclusive community hub in the heart of the Western Addition. In doing so, we make it easier for families, friends and neighbors to gather, to exercise, to enjoy the arts, and to strengthen the bonds of community in our City.” 

The vision for the Buchanan Street Mall Project, developed in an ongoing partnership with the community since 2014, is to create a vibrant, safe, and equitable gathering space that encourages interaction between people of all ages. The project’s design also includes a flexible open plaza, a community garden, expansive lawns for relaxation, and a Memory Walk that incorporates art and interpretive elements to tell the stories of the neighborhood once known as the Harlem of the West. 

The project is a partnership between the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, Citizen Film, Green Streets, The Trust for Public Land, the Exploratorium’s Studio for Public Spaces, Success Centers, the African American Art and Culture Complex, and the San Francisco Parks Alliance.  

“We are thrilled to be breaking ground this year on the Buchanan Street Mall Project. Community members have been firmly in the driver’s seat when it comes to the design, and this federal funding ensures their ideas will be put into action,” said San Francisco Recreation and Park Department General Manager, Phil Ginsburg.   

“With this federal grant from the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program, we will be able to translate the community’s vision of a nature-based open space linked to the neighborhood’s history into a built reality,” said Guillermo Rodriguez, California state director with the Trust for Public Land. “This federal investment is another example of San Francisco’s commitment to park equity.” 

“This community has long deserved the renovation of Buchanan Mall, which was a staple to many Black Families for generations. Being able to work with the community and for the community to make sure we can tell the stories of what came before and what is happening now is imperative to ensure that we remain here into the future,” said Citizen Film Outreach Director Tamara Walker. “Western Addition (Fill'mo) has worked hard to bring this to Buchanan Mall with their vision and it is exciting to see that the funding is here to finish the project.”  

The Buchanan Street Mall conceptual design was funded by The Trust for Public Land and its donors. San Francisco Public Works is leading the landscape design. Seed funding came from the 2012 Neighborhood Parks Bond and Let’sPlaySF! program, with additional funding from the 2020 Health and Recovery Bond, development impact fees, and the Buchanan Joint Green Infrastructure Project, a partnership between the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, as well as California’s Prop 68, which voters passed in 2018. Additionally, Senator Scott Wiener worked to secure $4.8 million in state funding for the renovations in 2021.   

About Buchanan Street Mall 

The Buchanan Street Mall was built by the then-San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, opened to the public in 1975, and transferred to the Recreation and Park Department in 1976. The park underwent major renovations in the late 1980s and early 1990s and received repairs in the early 2000s. After years of underuse, the Buchanan Street Mall began to come alive again in 2015 after project partners installed temporary activations that invited neighbors to enjoy time together in the park, including gardens, benches, archways, historical photos, lighting, and two “audio-domes” providing stories from the neighborhood.