Recycling center, community garden at odds in SF


The recycling center has a loyal neighborhood following and they were out in force at Thursday night's meeting, but it was not enough to sway the commission.

After a marathon public comment period, the Recreation and Parks Commission voted unanimously to replace the Haight-Ashbury Neighborhood Council Recycling Center with a community garden.

"There is no question that the recycling center served its purpose, but I think it is now an outdated purpose. I know that doesn't please everybody to hear it, but I honestly believe that is the case," says park commission president Mark Buell.

"Oh I'm pleased. I think the rec. department commission has looked at this as the business of running Golden Gate Park and that's their stewardship and they made a responsible decision that an outmoded facility the HANC Recycling Center has to go in favor for something that is much more community friendly," says Ted Loewenberg from the Haight-Ashbury Improvement Association.

"They didn't listen to the testimony. I'm not sure if they read all of the materials before them. Recycling centers are not extinct; they have not been replaced by curbside. Recycling centers compliment curbside," says HANC Recycling Center Executive Director Ed Dunn.

The recycling center has existed for nearly 40 years. It's located near Kezar Stadium, at the edge of Golden Gate Park in the Inner Sunset. Its revenue supports many community services and 10 jobs. Some local businesses bring their recycling here.

But the community garden advocates argued the industrial use is out of line with the park's master plan, and with the proliferation of recycling opportunities, the center is obsolete.

The recycling center plans to continue fighting to stay.

"The fix was in from the beginning. The staff report that they put together was very shoddy. They never would have gone forward with something this bad unless they knew that the votes were already put together before the scene even started. They're just kind of acting on orders of the lame duck mayor," says Dunn.

The first phase of the community garden plan will cost $250,000 that is ready and waiting. The current proposal calls for 40 garden plots. There are 705 people on the community garden waiting list.

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