San Francisco's UN Plaza reopens with skate park, fitness area, ping pong tables

J.R. Stone Image
Wednesday, November 8, 2023
SF's UN Plaza reopens with skate park, fitness area and more
Renovations which include a skate park and a fitness area have been completed at San Francisco's UN Plaza in an attempt to deter open-air drug use.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Major changes are now in place at San Francisco's UN Plaza. Millions of dollars worth of renovations have been completed in an attempt to deter open-air drug use.

The changes include a newly-installed street skate park and fitness area.

Permanent ping-pong tables, corn hole setups, Teqball, foosball and some chess tables - but that's just the small stuff.

San Francisco's UN Plaza skate park officially opens Wednesday in an event called "Re-Opening UN Plaza."

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"Brings some more energy to the neighborhood which I felt was missing in past years," said Austin Chung who works nearby.

"I think all the skateboarders, BMXers, extreme sports people were looking for something like this," said Andrew Torralvo who is a professional skateboarder in the Bay. He was one of dozens of skaters in the area that we saw Tuesday afternoon, the one who landed a massive ollie when we were there.

Lots has been made about UN Plaza being an open-air drug market in the past. When city officials held a special outdoor hearing on the issue last spring, people shouted as Mayor London Breed spoke. Someone was taken down by police after throwing a brick towards officials.

"With skateboarding, it's going to bring less sketchy activities around with people moving around and it's not so stagnant around here, you know," said Torralvo.

A workout area was also installed at UN Plaza and Xavier Hagwood was busy grinding into shape when we spoke with him.

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"So hopefully we can have some oversight people here to usher people in and out to make sure we don't have people destroying the property," said Xavier Hagwood of San Francisco.

But not everyone is happy about these renovations at UN Plaza. Those with the farmer's market were relocated across the street and they're not happy about it.

"I think the fact that it can't accommodate the farmer's market is real detrimental to the Tenderloin neighborhood and the South of Market neighborhood that really depend on that market for access to healthy produce and fruits and vegetables," said John McCormick who shops at the outdoor market. McCormick says there has been a huge drop in the number of people attending.

McCormick also believes that this just pushes the homeless and drug dealers elsewhere. Tuesday night, homeless individuals were lined up, not in UN Plaza but along a wall outside the nearby Asian Art Museum.

UN Plaza though, was certainly a picturesque sight on Tuesday night.

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