The Recreation and Park Commission approved plans for a major transformation of Chinatown’s Portsmouth Square park. The $66 million effort will totally overhaul the park’s appearance and introduce new spaces for shared use.
The Portsmouth Square Improvement Project will include the removal of a pedestrian bridge over Kearny Street, creation of a custom play structure, adult exercise space, outdoor event area, and a two-story, 8,000-square-foot clubhouse with community programs. There will also be changes designed to improve accessibility, and new seating, lighting, landscaping, fencing, and gathering areas will be added.
The Recreation and Park Department said the design is the culmination of more than 100 meetings and six workshops. “There was a lot of enthusiasm from the community for taking down the bridge to create more space for recreation,” said Rec and Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “We are thrilled to be able to move forward with this project and give Chinatown residents the modern oasis they deserve.”
The location has historic significance. It is the site of the state’s first public school, was a refugee camp after the 1906 earthquake, and has been a neighborhood park for the Chinatown community for more than a century. The revamp will break ground in 2023 and be completed in 2025.