Waterfront Playground (Friends of the)

Friends of the Waterfront Playground, a grassroots community advocacy group, has been working for the past two years in partnership with Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department and San Francisco Parks Alliance to bring a badly-needed playground to the City’s northeast waterfront. There are more than 1,000 children in the area, with thousands more visiting this top destination each week, yet there is no dedicated place for children to play within nearly a mile of San Francisco’s renowned Ferry Building. The Waterfront Playground will greatly benefit this underserved population of children, parents and grandparents in this increasingly dense yet playground-deficient community. It will make the Northeast Waterfront a more family-friendly environment and help to attract and retain young families in San Francisco.

Waterfront rendering

The Waterfront Playground will be prominently located in Sue Bierman Park, across the Embarcadero from the Ferry Building, with fully accessible, state-of-the-art play equipment for children of all ages. This landmark playground will provide a safe place for kids to play, foster healthy physical development and help combat childhood obesity. In addition, the playground will serve as an invaluable community asset for bringing families together, strengthening community ties and reducing family flight from San Francisco. With unanimous support from the SF Board of Supervisors and the SF Rec & Park Commission, Friends of the Waterfront Playground has embarked on a $900,000 fundraising campaign to secure the necessary capital to begin construction.

The design of the Waterfront Playground was developed through a community-driven design process led by ROMA Design Group, a nationally recognized, award-winning urban design firm that has worked on multiple projects along San Francisco’s northeast Embarcadero waterfront over the past 30 years. ROMA’s inventive design includes state of the art, ADA-compliant play structures that meet the needs and interests of children ranging in age from preschool (2-5 years) to upper-elementary (5-12 years). The placement and landscaping of the playground site has been masterfully designed to complement the broader park, activate the space and provide a more welcoming environment for all community members to enjoy.

Waterfront Playground Plan View

Friends of The Waterfront Playground, as a grassroots non-profit organization of neighborhood volunteers, has worked tirelessly over the past two years to conduct a comprehensive and inclusive community planning process for this playground. With guidance and 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsorship from the SF Parks Alliance, they have recruited and organized community supporters who collectively have contributed well over 1,000 volunteer hours engaged in planning, outreach and communications, community meetings, testimony at city hall hearings, pro bono professional services and fundraising efforts. As a result, the Northeast Waterfront community is united in its support for this much-needed playground in a neighborhood completely devoid of play spaces, and the process of bringing this project to fruition has energized and strengthened community relationships in working towards this common goal. With widespread community support and thorough project planning, both the SF Board of Supervisors and the Rec & Park Commission voted unanimously to approve the project, and construction on the Waterfront Playground can begin as early as Fall 2012. In this era of budget cuts and limited City funding, this public-private partnership serves as a successful and inspiring model for improving communities and making San Francisco a more livable city for all. 


Donate Today! Friends of the Waterfront Playground invites you to participate in making this playground a reality. With your help, we can reach our $900,000 fundraising goal and begin construction of the playground in late 2012. Donors of $1,000 or more will receive permanent name recognition at the playground site.  Donations may made online at www.waterfrontplayground.org.