San Francisco, CA – Today Mayor London N. Breed celebrated the opening of Southeast Community Center, a state-of-the-art space designed to bring local residents together in the Bayview-Hunters Point community. Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton, Public Utilities Commissioner (SFPUC) General Manager Dennis Herrera, City and community leaders took part in the ribbon cutting event to officially welcome residents and visitors to enjoy the wide-range of open spaces and community offerings.
The 45,000-square-foot LEED Gold Certified facility at 1550 Evans Avenue includes a childcare center, café, free wi-fi, public workspaces, and $1 million in culturally celebratory art commissioned from local artists.
The campus includes two acres of open space, with an amphitheater, gardens, outdoor dining areas, and play spaces for children. Equipped with air quality monitors, the facility will be powered by rooftop solar panels and operate with 100% greenhouse gas-free hydroelectricity sourced from the SFPUC’s Hetch Hetchy Regional Power System.
"One of the many things that makes me proud about San Francisco is the way people come together. Now with the new Southeast Community Center, neighbors, families and visitors can enjoy these amazing open spaces and state-of-the-art facilities to support learning and play,” said Mayor London Breed. “I am happy to see our City continuing to invest in and offer thoughtful spaces, especially after a pandemic that kept many of us apart and indoors. I want to thank the Big Six and everyone who helped champion to bring a beautiful space to the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood.”
“We have been working very hard to realize the promise we made to our community to offer them a place to learn and gather; it is very exciting to know that this commitment came to fruition,” said Supervisor Shamann Walton. “We will make sure the activities at the community center benefit everyone in the Bayview and I look forward to seeing tangible career opportunities coming from our own neighborhood. This is one investment centered around community. I want to thank Dr. Espanola Jackson and the Big 6 (Julia Commer, Bertha Freeman, Osceola Washington, Eloise Westbrook, and Rosalie Williams) for laying the foundation to make this possible.”
The new center is designed to replace the Southeast Community Facility, located at 1800 Oakdale Avenue, which was constructed in partnership with the Bayview-Hunters Point community to mitigate the environmental and social impacts of the SFPUC’s Southeast Treatment Plant's expansion in the 1970s and 1980s.
Over time, the 1800 Oakdale facility required major repairs. The new community center was developed after an extensive engagement process with Bayview residents, who voiced strong support for building the new center at 1550 Evans Avenue. The center includes a large, state-of-the-art special events space for meetings, events, classes, family celebrations, and community fairs, along with a multi-purpose room, office and co-working space for community non-profits.
“We pledged that this community center would reflect what residents wanted,” said SFPUC General Manager Dennis Herrera. “We’re proud to deliver on that promise. At the SFPUC, we are committed to being good neighbors and doing the right thing. From the history of advocacy, to the extensive community engagement in planning this center, to the nearly 100 people from the 94124 ZIP code who worked on it, this is a landmark destination built by the community for the community. It’s a transformational project. It makes a decades-long community dream a reality.”
“This community center is a historic landmark in our march for environmental justice in the Bayview and all of San Francisco’s southeast neighborhoods,” said SFPUC Commissioner Sophie Maxwell. “As a community, we have fought for years to shut down dirty power plants, upgrade our sewer infrastructure, and create inviting open spaces for generations of residents to gather, play, and grow. This community center is a shining example of what we can accomplish.”
The Bayview community was instrumental in advocating for and ensuring that these facilities were developed and designed to provide workforce, childcare and educational opportunities in their community. Along with its partners, the SFPUC took part in a yearlong engagement process that included 45 public meetings, knocking on over 2,400 doors and participating in more than 1,000 in-depth surveys filled out by residents.
Among the residents who first lobbied on behalf of the facilities were pioneering civil rights advocates Dr. Espanola Jackson, Harold Madison, Elouise Westbrook, Ethel Garlington, Shirley Jones and Alex Pitcher, collectively known as the Big Six.
“Today, we celebrate the tradition of self-determination the Big Six founders modeled for us,” said Dr. Gina Fromer, Ph.D., Chair of the Southeast Community Facility Commission. “The new Southeast Community Center is a continuation of their work and a legacy realized. Chock-full of art, history, and purpose, the new center is a testament to our founders’ vision. Moreover, it is a monument to the best of who we are as a community, and what we hope to become. As a Bayview native — born and raised — I am truly honored to see this project come to fruition. I am proud of what this new center represents for the community!”
San Francisco Public Works provided the architecture, landscape architecture, engineering and construction management services for the project.
“This amazing new community center, with its array of services and amenities and more than two acres of welcoming green space, showcases the important partnership between the southeast community and City government,” said interim Public Works Director Carla Short. “We could not be prouder to have worked on delivering this game-changing project on behalf of the SFPUC and the people of San Francisco. It’s beautiful, meaningful, and brings a community dream to life.”
The Arts Commission played a critical role in commissioning three major art installations by local artists: Promissory Notes by Mildred Howard, Building a Better Bayview by Phillip Hua, and Navigating The Historical Present: Bayview-Hunters Point, by Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle. The Arts Commission also commissioned a two-dimensional art program for the facility consisting of 37 individual works by 27 artists.
“In partnership with the SFPUC and southeast community, the Arts Commission developed the Bayview Arts Masterplan, which established the Bayview Artist Registry and helped guide the artistic vision for the future of the neighborhood.” Said Ralph Remington, Director of Cultural Affairs for the Arts Commission. “We are thrilled and honored to present a robust collection of three new site-specific commissioned works and a collection of two-dimensional art purchased from local artists with deep ties to the community. These artists celebrate the African diaspora while honoring the ancestral legacy of the people who built this neighborhood.”
Today’s ribbon cutting ceremony was followed by a block party that includes local performances, children’s activities, building tours, and other activities. The block party runs until 2 p.m.