SF’s Newest Park Next to an Old Navy Shipyard, What Could go Wrong?
India Basin, San Francisco, CA. Chances are you’ve never heard of it. I’m 90% sure I went to a rave there in 2008, but apparently lot a has changed in India since then. Most recently, there’s a 9+ acre park renovation that the city & many private donors have in store for the area, along with 1,575 residential units, approximately 200,000 square feet of commercial space, approximately 15.5 acres of publicly accessible open space, and up to 1,800 parking spaces. This according to the project’s main developers ‘BUILD’.
There’s a mural unveiling and block party with Mayor Breed ect. is June 7, with a DJ, and food and drinks, at the new location. Info Here.
Much more importantly, SF’s newest potential park, in India Basin which is located next to the former US military shipyard, and and area fraught with toxic soil.
The main reason this land hasn’t already been developed is that the US military didn’t clean it up properly after using the land during WWII. The Navy used the area and drydock to clean ships exposed to atomic tests in the Pacific Ocean, Hunters Point became contaminated with radioactive cesium-137 and other hazardous materials: asbestos, glow-in-the-dark paint, lead, and pesticides. As a result, cancer rates for certain types of cancers were double in Hunter’s Point residents over the years as compared to other San Francisco residents.
In short, the soil there is fucking toxic. And to make matters worse the Navy hired a fraudulent company to fake soil samples so they could get out of cleaning the area up, or taking responsibility for the sick residents. Remember Tetra Tech? The company the Navy hired to declare the area safe? A couple of their executives went to Federal prison for faking ‘safe’ test results. And there’s currently a $27 Billion Class Action Lawsuit Against the Navy Contractor, by the residents of Hunter’s Point.
The developer’s plan is to remove the first 2 feet of topsoil on 9.6 acres, and other areas will need to be sealed and continually monitored for toxicity, and the whole area will need to be landscaped. The renovation is a true team effort, with the city’s Recreation and Parks Department, the San Francisco Parks Alliance, and the Trust for Public Land. Ground is planned to break in 2021, with the project scheduled to be finished in 2025. We will see.
In February 2019, the state declared the area ‘safe’, saying that there was no dangerous radiation in Hunter’s Point. I guess the question is, do we believe them this time? I may just be paranoid, but I will not be playing in that park, anytime soon.