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Doing our part to help the Tenderloin Safe Passage Park thrive

Donated plants for Spark | Pacific Nurseries
We were recently approached by Envelope Architecture & Design about providing some charitable assistance for an important community project in the San Francisco Tenderloin district—the Safe Passage Park | SPark.

We recognized this opportunity as one of many that we have met over the years. And our participation in it demonstrates our ongoing support for improving public landscapes and giving back to the greater Bay Area community.

Teaming up to address a challenging urban environment

Envelope is an idea-driven architecture and activations studio that is intent on realizing equitable and compelling built environments. They use a collaborative and experimental process that searches out flexible, immersive, and holistic design solutions specific to the needs of their clients and communities.

In this instance, Envelope was working with the Tenderloin Community Benefit District | TCBD to develop a “safe passage” park that runs alongside a block of Turk Street in San Francisco.

The Tenderloin Community Benefit District’s core purpose is to lead the evolution of the Tenderloin into a vibrant community of residents of all ages, races, religions, genders, sexual orientations, experiences, and circumstances—including those experiencing homelessness.

TBCD believes all residents and neighbors deserve pathways and opportunities to thrive.
SPark | Pacific Nurseries
Envelope designed and developed SPark in collaboration with the community. The result was an an innovative and distinctive solution.

The pandemic sparks an innovative solution

SPark is an 1800 square foot community space that runs along the southern sidewalk of the 200 block of Turk Street. It was formerly a commercial loading zone.

This new space provides much-needed access to outdoor play areas for local youth. As a calm and relaxing area for residents, and a space for physical activities, including movement, arts, and health classes, it provides a welcome break from a dense urban environment. There’s even an area for pet relief.

Originally conceived and developed as a temporary fixture during the pandemic shutdown, the community decided to make SPark permanent because of the positive impact it continues to deliver.

The first phase of the project, implemented by SFMTA | San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency , created space for walking and activities separated from the travel lanes by concrete k-rail traffic barriers. It was followed by a Community Build Day where residents and partners completed a mural along the k-rails. The project has recently added colorful planters that soften the barrier structures and enhance the outdoor environment.

Programming and activation of the space are led by local organizations and a celebratory launch took place in July 2021.

Upcoming program activities include Tai-chi, Zumba, and boxing skills classes with the neighboring Salvation Army Kroc Center. Cross-Cultural Family Center will also offer quality after-school educational and art activities.

The space is kept clean and stewarded 7 days per week by TLCBD, Downtown Streets Team, and Urban Alchemy practitioners. Adjacent properties, SF Public Works, and Recology also provide additional cleaning resources.
SPark Community Build Day | Pacific Nurseries
The SPark Community Build Day was a hands-on effort of community pride | Tenderloin Community Benefit District

Local partnerships ensure success

SPark has been made possible through the generous support of these cooperating groups:

  • | 200/300 Turk Street Block Group  Tenderloin residents
  • | Chinatown Community Development Center
  • | Cross Cultural Family Center
  • | Salvation Army Kroc Center
  • | Department of Children, Youth, and Families
  • | Covid Command Center
  • | San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency | SFMTA
  • | San Francisco Fire Department | SFFD
  • | San Francisco Police Department | SFPD
  • | Healthy Streets Operation Center
  • | D6 Supervisor’s Office
  • | Human Rights Commission
  • | ParaTransit
  • | San Francisco Rec & Park
  • | San Francisco Department of Public Works | SFDPW

Pacific Nurseries donated all of the plants for the unique planters located throughout the park. These special fixtures were designed to reduce vandalism and display plants at an elevated height for visitors.

“The plants from Pacific Nurseries added beauty and helped bring this unique public space to life. The community is deeply appreciative of the generous donation and the positive impact that it made on everyone that visits the park.”
Hunter Franks | Director of Inviting Space, TCBD

A Planting Day was organized to install the plants and it provided an opportunity for the community to connect with the landscape and to learn what plants can add to an environment.

Residents and enthusiastic neighborhood kids participated in the active creation of SPark by filling the colorful planters with a diverse mix of perennials and grasses.

Mayor London Breed and other community leaders were also there to provide their support for this transformational project in the heart of San Francisco’s Tenderloin.

“Everyone has commented on how beautiful the plants are and how they make the space come alive. Manty thanks to Pacific Nurseries for your incredible donation!”
Cassiopea McDonald | Envelope Project Manager

Beautiful plants bring green relief to a rough environment

Dozens of plants, ferns, and grasses were installed at SPark.  Each of them is seasonally beautiful and compatible with the filtered light and prevalent shade in the area.

Hover over some of the specimens below to see their botanical name.

Interested in using some of the plants above in your project?

If you want to learn more about the sizes and availability of the plants above—or any in our inventory—just contact one of our experts at Pacific Nurseries.

As both a grower and a plant broker, we’re ready to work with you to provide just the right CA native, water-wise plants that will make your project a success with your clients. It’s one of the many qualities that make us different from just an ordinary nursery.

Contact us online or just give us a call at 650.755.2330.

We can also provide an Estimate for one item or for an entire installation. Just attach your Microsoft Excel .xlsx plant list to our convenient online estimate form.

Next time you’re in SF, check out SPark

Residents, businesses, city government, and community organizations have all come together to help in funding the design, development, build out, and stewardship of SPark. And they’re committed to ensure that it remains a welcoming space for all.

When you’re in San Francisco, please stop by SPark and let us know what you think about it. We’d love to share your experience with our community of Bay Area Landscape Pros.

To learn more about the SPark, just click the button below.

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