The Willie “Woo Woo” Wong Playground is finally here after a $14.5M renovation.
On February 12th, San Francisco Recreation and Parks announced the grand opening of Willie “Woo Woo” Wong Playground. It’s named after University of San Francisco basketball star Willie Wong, who played there from 1948-1950.
This Chinatown playground, formally called “Chinese Playground,” was first opened in 1927 and has since undergone several renovations. This latest renovation was largely influenced by the surrounding community, who shared their opinions via surveys and focus groups conducted in English, Mandarin and Cantonese.
The brand new custom play equipment features a huge climbable water dragon sculpture and a beautiful phoenix. In Chinese mythology, the dragon symbolizes power, strength and good luck. The phoenix is said to be a rare, immortal bird who foretells harmony at the ascent of a new emperor.
There are also cohesive bridges, pathways, a two-level tower, several slides, and brand new courts to accommodate basketball, volleyball, badminton and pickleball. Not to mention an expanded clubhouse, a plaza with fitness equipment, and full ADA accessibility for all areas. The playground and clubhouse is meant to be a community center where children can play and learn, seniors can practice outdoor tai chi, and the residents of Chinatown can come together.
San Francisco artist Julie Chang created “Maiden’s Dress,” a beautiful mural inside the clubhouse. It includes several traditional design elements including the Maiden’s Dress peony for abundance and honor, a red knot for good fortune and green bamboo lines for integrity and resilience.
San Francisco Recreation and Parks consulted a spectrum of local community organizations including the Chinatown Community Development Center, the Committee for Better Parks and Recreation in Chinatown, the Chinese Culture Center, the Chinatown YMCA, and several local daycares, among many others.
Construction and landscape design was carried out by San Francisco Public Works, CLW Builders Inc., Cal Pacific Carpentry, CMG Landscape Architecture and more.
Funding for the $14.5M renovation came in part from the 2012 Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond, the Downtown Park Fund, and the City’s Open Space Fund.
Be sure to visit the Willie “Woo Woo” Wong Playground at 830 Sacramento St in San Francisco’s Chinatown.
[All Images: San Francisco Recreation & Parks]