SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined other San Francisco community leaders in the Presidio on Thursday to kick off the second phase of the Presidio Tunnel Tops Project. The project will create 14 acres of parkland on top of highway tunnels.
"This is something quite spectacular and it takes us to a new level of park example for the rest of the country, new level of beauty new level of inspiration but most importantly a new level of involving new people," Rep. Pelosi said.
Lynne Benioff is the co-chair of the campaign committee and thanked her small but mighty committee.
"The park is free to everyone but not free to build. To make Tunnel Tops a reality we have to raise $98 million. We are so grateful that, thanks to the generosity of visionary supporters, we have raised nearly $87 million," she said.
Thursday's event was dubbed a "groundmaking" ceremony instead of groundbreaking. Pelosi and several children took buckets of dirt and dumped it onto the tunnels to commemorate the kick off of the construction.
"This unique destination will afford our community a place to be inspired and connect with nature but also serve as a safe and inclusive space for youth and families to explore and to experience nature based education opportunities," said City Librarian Michal Lambert.
Community leaders praised the project for bringing the community together on top of highways that cut across the community.
"It is vital everyone in our community feel welcome and included to gather, to learn and to play together in this National Park site close to so many. Our vision is that we engage those that have historically not benefitted from our parks," said Michele Gee of the National Park Service.
The park is expected to open in the Fall of 2021.