By Bonnee Waldstein
With the collapse of the farmers’ market this year, the BART parking lot has been empty on weekends. In addition to providing fresh produce, baked goods, etc. it used to be a great gathering place for the neighborhood.
That could soon change with the preliminary plan for a weekend amusement park at the site. Fun City West Amusements, out of Los Angeles, has expressed interest in using the space for one of their temporary amusement parks.
Since the demise of Playland in 1972, San Francisco has been without an amusement park.
Evelyn Rose, Glen Park historian, has lectured about the amusement park that used to be in Glen Canyon to attract visitors to the neighborhood in the early 1900s. “This would be a reconnection with that concept,” she said.
Fun City West made a presentation to an ad hoc meeting of the Glen Park Association last month. The rides would come on Friday evening and leave Sunday evening, so commuters wouldn’t be disrupted.
Several novel rides are under consideration. In addition to the usual Ferris wheel and whip, a micro-roller coaster like the one in downtown Tokyo might be included.
The BART board, noted BART Representative Tom Radulovich, is in favor, as proceeds would go into their general fund.
Supervisor Scott Wiener said the idea has his full support and will do what he can to grease the bureaucratic wheels. “I hope I get to cut the ribbon!”
Michael Rice, president of the GPA, expressed his support and suggested that the GPA might make one of its annual grants to go toward some free game for the children’s enrichment.
Someone suggested auctioning off naming rights, as “Glen Park Amusement Park” doesn’t sound quite right. Maybe “Modern Past Amusement Park,” said Merchants Association President Ric Lopez.
The parents who attended were very positive. Matt, a Glen Park dad who didn’t want his last name used, said: “This would be great. Our 4-year old is always whining that there’s nothing to do here. With the amusement park, maybe some of her little friends would come here and I wouldn’t need to drive her across town for play dates.”
“I hope there won’t be any cotton candy,” said one parent. “We should come up with a more healthful alternative for the kids.”
Others expressed the usual concerns of parking, traffic, and in this case, screaming children, all weekend. Michael Rice said that as San Francisco is striving to be a family friendly city, Glen Park could put up with some disruption for the sake of the children.
BART’s Radulovich also brushed this aside the concerns: “Glen Park is a transit hub, and as part of a Transit First city, folks would be expected to use public transit to get to the park. Besides, the merchants would benefit from the enormously increased foot traffic.”
The project will be formally proposed at the next Land Use Committee meeting of the Board of Supervisors. If approved, it will go for consideration to the full board.
If the Board of Supervisors approves, the park could be open in the BART lot by mid-summer.
At the end of the meeting, there was a show of hands for community support of the amusement park.
However, despite the support, due to the vote being taken on April 1, further consideration of the whole thing has been postponed indefinitely.