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New park with wet plaza opens in the Mission

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They razed a parking lot and put up paradise

Girl playing on the park, using the new water element on a hot day. Photos courtesy of SF Rec and Park Department

Bound by Folsom Street between 17th and Shotwell streets, a new park was unveiled in the Mission last week. This is the first city-sanctioned park to open in the neighborhood in over a decade, the city’s 217th park overall.

Christened the Chan Kaajal Park—meaning "My Little Town" in Mayan—the new alfresco space measures 31,850 square feet and features a sprawling lawn, an outdoor stage and performance space, an adult fitness equipment area, a children's play area, and an interactive water plaza.

The water element, certain to refresh the wee ones during the summer’s occasional hotter days, is meant to commemorate the Mission Creek that once ran through the site. While not as thrilling as a splash pad—typically found in warmer cities, like Los Angeles—it’s a treat nevertheless.

There’s also a community garden, as well as drought-tolerant landscaping and trees to provide wildlife habitat.

Best of all, the park was built on top of an old parking lot.

Where we once had a parking lot, we now have a public open space that will be the centerpiece of this neighborhood,” said Mayor Ed Lee.

“Our residents deserve access to clean, safe parks, and this new site will provide a wonderful place for families to gather together and catch some fresh air. What makes this particularly special is that this is a park for the community, designed by the community.”

The name of the park also reflects the local community. Per the press release, “With the existence of Yucatecan businesses, cultural associations, and social services and organization serving this community is a testament to their presence, and the name represents the contributions and significance of the local Mayan speaking community.”