The city is set to break ground today on Eagle Plaza, the new West SoMa park dedicated to the leather and LGBTQ communities who have long frequented neighborhood hangouts like the nearby SF Eagle bar that gives the new park its name.
The groundbreaking announcement testifies that “the plaza is designed for both active and passive recreation, with open, hardscape areas that can host neighborhood gatherings, events, and performances” and that “featuring the leather pride flag flying high, Eagle Plaza will be a commemorative public space for Western SoMa’s Leather community.”
The flag is meant to be a persistent presence in the park, marking it as part of the surrounding Leather and LGBTQ Cultural District.
In a statement ahead of the groundbreaking, Mayor London Breed said, “Eagle Plaza will serve as a gathering place for us to honor these communities that make San Francisco unique.”
In February, Breed signed off on legislation green lighting the plaza project, which was in the making for several years. The Planning Commission approved the plaza design in 2016, but it took nearly three years to reach the Board of Supervisors.
At the time, plaza backers needed to raise an additional $150,000 to complete the estimated $1.85 million price tag, leaving some uncertainty about when the 12,500-square-foot SoMa park would start to come together.
Part of 12th Street will close during construction between Bernice and Harrison. The build is scheduled to be a relatively quick one by San Francisco standards, with the plaza expected to open by year’s end.
Although San Francisco has some of the highest density of public open space of any major U.S. city, SoMa suffers a chronic lack of parks.
In 2013, an SF Recreation and Park working group found that out of six neighborhoods making up District Six, the “deficiency gap” for park space in West SoMa was higher even than the Tenderloin.