Vandalism could delay reopening portion of Dolores Park

SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) – Dolores Park is one of San Francisco's most densely packed parks, undergoing a $20 million renovation on its northern side. But neither fences nor warning signs seem to stop vandals from tagging and tearing up portions of the park.

"I'm infuriated, I'm angry," San Francisco Recreation & Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg told KTVU Tuesday. "Over the weekend, some idiots broke into the construction site and did about $100,000 worth of damage."

Ginsburg said intruders stole a construction cart, hotwired it and did donuts on a newly sodded field, damaging a new irrigation system.

It happened in a section of the 16-acre park that was set to reopen in April, though that is now up in the air. "We're still assessing the damage and what it's going to take to get the project back on track," said Ginsburg.

Vandals also tagged the cement roof of the park's new storage facility and even lit a campfire in a corner of that facility to roast s'mores, leaving behind marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers.

Police made two arrests in last weekend's incidents and are now asking contractors working at the park to take down green fence covers. "So that officers and the public can see into the park if there's anybody in here or inside this construction zone that's not supposed to be here," said San Francisco Police Department Captain Dan Perea.

The city spent about $15,000 on graffiti abatement alone in Dolores Park in 2013. Perea said the Mission Station has stepped up uniform and undercover patrols, but said the park's layout gives vandals easy cover at night.

"We want people to enjoy it," said Ginsburg. "But don't trash it. Don't vandalize it, don't demolish it. Don't disrespect it."