Delayed Unity Plaza Decorative Lighting Project To Start Next Year

Project management changes, a challenging location and a significant funding gap have waylaid the project.

Unity Plaza decorative lighting rendering
A project to add decorative lighting to Unity Plaza will start in 2022. Courtesy image
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Three years after District 7 residents voted for Ingleside’s public gathering place to be outfitted with decorative lighting, the project has yet to make meaningful progress.

Project management changes, a challenging location and a significant funding gap have waylaid what was supposed to be a beautification project for Unity Plaza similar to those done in other neighborhoods such as North Beach.

After consulting light artist Joshua Hubert, the Ocean Avenue Association submitted the application for the project to District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee’s Participatory Budgeting program in 2019. District 7 residents voted to grant $25,000 for the effort in April 2019. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors appropriated the funding two months later.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the Office of the District 7 Supervisor Myrna Melgar, who has pledged to complete her predecessor’s projects, and the Department of Public Works are working together on the project.

A Department of Public Works preliminary proposal obtained by the Ingleside Light totals approximately $65,000: $45,000 for hard costs, $14,835 for design and $4,500 for contingency reserves.

It’s unclear why SFMTA decided that the project cannot be contracted to a private company.

“The SFMTA will continue our partnerships and conduct community outreach for input and feedback from community members and stakeholders to stay within budget and create the most colorful, long term, energy saving and cost efficient lighting design,” SFMTA Deputy Spokesperson Stephen Chun told the Ingleside Light.

Community outreach will begin sometime in the winter or spring of 2022 but is subject to change, Chun said.

“We’ve been waiting a long time,” Loc Tham Real Estate Group partner Peter Tham told the Ingleside Light. “It’s not great that it’s taking so long since it will be great for the neighborhood, an attraction for people from other parts of the city to visit.”

The Ingleside Merchants Association, to which the Ingleside Light belongs, is calling for neighborhood marketing and beautification to help improve business conditions and livability.

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