Social media was all a chatter, Havelock Street was packed bumper to bumper, and people streamed in from all angles. That's right, the anticipation was finally over and Balboa Pool was to be open again on Saturday, February 23rd.
The swimming pool in Mission Terrace's Balboa Park was founded in 1959, had been in need of renovations and ADA accessibility upgrades. Funding was secured and the pool was closed back in October of 2016 to begin work for what was supposed to be a one-year project. Almost 2 years and 4 months later (delays largely due to disputes with PG&E) the pool was opening again... with much fanfare.
SF Rec & Park was on hand with free giveaways and people wanted through the new building. High above the swimming pool and enjoyed by spectators lining the pool, was an enormous mural titled All My Friends At Once, by artist Jason Jägel, funded but he city's two-percent-for-art funding, which included nods to the neighborhoods close to the pool.
Speeches were given by San Francisco's Mayor London Breed, District 11 Supervisor Ahashi Safai, NMTIA's Board Present David Hooper, and many more.
After the speeches were completed, Mayor Breed lead a countdown to the first plunge into the pool, to rousing cheers all around, followed by an impressive show by the San Francisco Merionettes, an award-winning synchronized swimming club formed in 1956. This was followed by a free open swim for anyone who wanted to brave the crowds.
If swimming wasn't your thing, then no worries as there were plenty of outdoor activities as well; giant bubble-blowing, bean bag tosses, and a bunch house.
All-in-all, it was a fantastic day for the neighborhood.
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During a rainy Thursday morning in Mission Terrace, a car could be seen stopping by homes throughout the neighborhood; the driver jumping out into the rain to drop off Valentine's cards given by their fellow neighbors.
The "Spread Some Love" project began last year, with the goal of spreading positivity in the world by starting right here in our own neighborhood. The project started small, with just a handful of participants last year, yet more than doubling in size for 2019.
How the program works: In January, announcements are sent out via social media and email, alerting MT residents to the project. Participants were provided with an online form, which required the address of the participant (the person who wanted a card sent) and the address where the card was to be delivered, so that NMTIA could ensure card were being sent to & from MT residents. Participants had the option to add a special note if they desired. All cards were delivered by hand on Valentine's Day.
All-in-all, this year's project was a success!
Walking through Mission Terrace during the first couple of weeks in February, you may have noticed pieces of the sidewalk missing, with signs up saying "FRIENDS OF THE URBAN FOREST." (aka "FUF.")
FUF is an amazing San Francisco p501(c)(3) which helps individuals and neighborhood groups plant and care for street trees and sidewalk gardens in San Francisco. This "green infrastructure" improves our city by beautifying neighborhoods, cleaning the air, and reducing polluted stormwater runoff. Since 1981, FUF has brought communities together to plant more than 60,000 trees, totaling almost half of the city's street tree canopy.
On February 9th through the 11th, in partnership with Mission Terrace residents and Friends of the Urban Forest, more than 50 trees were planted in our neighborhood!
Thank you to everyone who participated in this event. Can't wait to see what it'll look like in 10 years! If you are interested in having a tree planted of a sidewalk garden installed in front of your house, reach out to FUF. It's easy and affordable!
Please Note: NMTIA maintains a “good neighbor” policy in our online presence. We have a fantastic community with a variety of perspectives, beliefs, and feelings about many topics. We believe that differing opinions should not interfere with being good neighbors to each other. We encourage civility and mutual respect, and we remove any posts or comments that are belittling, show hostility, or are discriminatory in nature.