Rec & Park Commission approves plans for
Impound Lake improvement at Lake Merced
By Tiffany Maleshefski
September 11, 2001
It might have been the easiest decision Commissioners Gloria Bonilla and Lynne Newhouse Segal had to make last Wednesday during a meeting of the Recreation and Park Commission's Recreation, Parks, and Planning Committee.
After deliberating for about half a minute, Bonilla and Segal agreed to send a proposal to restore Impound Lake ó one of four sub-bodies of water that make up Lake Merced ó to the full commission for approval.
The matter will be heard by the full commission September 20.
"Itís so desperately needed, all of this," said Recreation and Park Department general manager Elizabeth Goldstein, sharing the enthusiasm of the commissioners for a conceptual plan, developed by the Lake Merced Task Force, to restore the lake.
The $1,419,000 restoration plan would create five project areas within the Lake Impound Triangle Area, bounded by the John Muir Way fishing pier, the Brotherhood Way parking lot, and the southern tip of Impound Lake.
A large portion of the repairs would occur at and around the John Muir Way fishing pier, which was damaged by winter rains in 1998.
Under the conceptual plan for the Impound Lake Triangle area, the John Muir Way fishing pier would be replaced with a floating pier, one that would have the flexibility to change its elevation according to water levels ó a capability that would help prevent future damage and ensure greater longevity. The new pier would also be wheelchair-accessible.
But the planís most impressive feature, according to commissioners, comes in the form of a boardwalk that would begin at the Bufano Statue at the southern end of the park, run northward parallel to Lake Merced Boulevard, and then loop into the lake.
The boardwalk would connect with existing pedestrian staircases accessible from the parking area at the intersection of Brotherhood Way and Lake Merced Boulevard.
"I can hardly wait to have our seniors on that boardwalk," Bonilla said.
The plan would also result in major renovations for three parking lots around Impound Lake.
An existing dirt parking lot at the intersection of Brotherhood Way and Lake Merced Boulevard would be paved, and rest-room areas would be constructed next to the lot.
A parking area on the west side of the Impound Bridge at John Muir Way would be upgraded to better accommodate vehicles. The area would also receive rest-room facilities, picnic tables, trash bins, and major landscape renovations.
The parking area around the Bufano Statue would be redesigned for pedestrian-only use and would receive features such as picnic areas.
The conceptual plan would also bring about several other improvements, such as the filling and restoring of slope areas that were affected by storm damage at Impound Lake.
Existing pathways would be realigned to meet accessibility requirements and would be compacted and paved. A new path might be created to bring visitors to the shoreline.
Funds in place
Recreation and Park Department officials estimate that the department has $900,000 remaining in 1987 park bond money, along with additional monies from the state and a grant from the California Coastal Conservancy, to restore the Impound Lake Triangle area. Total funding anticipated for the project is $1,419,000.
That sum is expected to be about what is needed to cover the price tag for the project, which would take no more than three years to complete, according to department officials. In fact, Marvin Yee, project manager for the Recreation and Park Departmentís Lake Merced Task Force, believes the job can be completed by the end of the year.
If the proposal is approved at the September 20 Recreation and Park Commission meeting, a more specific design plan for the Impound Triangle area should be in front of the full commission in the upcoming months.