Ocean Avenue Nonprofit’s New Staff Tackling Problems

Led by Christian Martin, the Ocean Avenue Association is making long-needed reforms.

Street ambassador
Roland Lee is an ambassador for the Ocean Avenue Association. | Anne Marie Kristoff/Ingleside Light

The nonprofit organization charged with keeping Ingleside’s stretch of Ocean Avenue clear of litter and free of graffiti is making changes to its operations and planning new projects under the leadership of its new staff.

The Ocean Avenue Association, a community benefit district authorized by City Hall and funded through a special assessment on properties, is initiating a number of new projects, its staff shared at the March 20 meeting of the nonprofit's board of directors.

The organization has had a tumultuous past three years. Last year, shortly after the Ingleside Merchants Association sent three letters about performance and compliance issues to the Board of Supervisors’ Government Audit and Oversight Committee, Supervisor Myrna Melgar called for an audit. The nonprofit's governing board struggled implementing or outight ignored recommendations to improve operations as dictated by a taxpayer-funded report, the merchants group said.

At the monthly meeting, which was held over Zoom, participants discussed new banking procedures, the ongoing audit, marketing Ingleside to the wider city to draw visitors and plans to open an office in a space located on Ocean Avenue at Faxon Avenue that was leased from one of its board members.

Christian Martin, the organization’s executive director who also manages a larger community benefit district for the South of Market neighborhood, shared an update on the maintenance report and spoke on how much the three ambassadors have accomplished in just over one month of the program’s launch.

Martin said the ambassadors are doing various tasks and picking up many things.

“It's trash. It's turds. It's drain cleaning, with all the rain we've been having a big job,” Martin said. “Topping off some of the trash cans, picking up waste around the trash cans, leaves, miscellaneous litter, debris, bulky items—you name it.”

Over the past month, the ambassadors completed 442 tasks including cleaning 30 drains, removing 25 instances of graffiti removal and responding to non-emergency calls. Together they collected an estimated 4,735 pounds of garbage.

Martin said he plans to hire Metro Mobile Power Wash to power wash the street and All Bay Landscaping to hang flower baskets next month.

Friends of Lakeside Village, an organization activating Lakeside Village’s stretch of Ocean Avenue, hired OAA for services through a grant, Martin said.

New Projects

Deputy Director Gabriel Cory presented plans for a handful of projects meant to beautify the neighborhood.

Cory said he worked with local artist Neil Ballard to submit the proposal for a $25,000 grant to place a mural on the Havelock Pedestrian Bridge near the City College of San Francisco.

Cory said he is seeking bids to install string lights along Ocean Avenue from Fairfield Way to City College Terminal. It’s estimated to be completed by April 30.

The third project is developing ties to City College of San Francisco and San Francisco State University. For instance, CCSF holds demonstrations and workshop days that OAA can join.

“We've reached out to CCSF and SF State's MBA Program and School of Business and this is just because we want to be involved with them,” Cory said. “We met with the director of the CCSF Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and it was a great meeting. We think there's opportunities to work together in future events.”

The nonprofit is holding an entrepreneur, investor and small business networking event on April 13 in Unity Plaza designed to spotlight Ocean Avenue to attract entrepreneurs, investors and new small businesses while also creating awareness about the nonprofit.

“Some of the feedback we've gotten from businesses on the corridor is ways to help connect the community of businesses,” Cory said. “We hope that this can be a bridge and a platform where existing businesses can also come together. We're very excited about this and hope it goes really well.”

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