sfpd_cityhall.jpgA recent court ruling has endangered a long-awaited SFPD substation in an area referred to by the Chron as “Two troubled blocks the city can’t fix.” However, some say that the SFPD never really wanted the substation in the first place.

When the state Supreme Court upheld a law that dissolves California’s 400 redevelopment agencies and seizes $1.7 billion in revenue in a decision issued December 29, 2011, many of the projects those agencies were planning to pay for are left scrambling for cash.

One such project is the long-discussed SFPD substation planned for 72 Sixth Street. Area residents and merchants have been encouraging this substation since last summer, but the project has been slow moving, with the Chron’s CW Nevius spending much of the month of June on the issues around the substation.

On June 18, in a column headlined “Sixth Street, 2 troubled blocks city can’t fix,” he wrote that the substation had “been in the pipeline forever.”

He followed that with a report saying that SFPD “brass” opposed the plan.

“Some involved in the project say they worry that the cops have decided Sixth Street is just a can of worms – that they’ve tried to clean it up, but nothing ever changes. Best to forget it,” wrote Nevius on June 23, 2011.

A week later, Nevius outlined further opposition to the SFPD plan, saying that “some critics believe the Police Department has been acting difficult because officials there don’t want civilians telling them where to put their officers.”

“The city’s Redevelopment Agency has made Sixth Street a special project, providing financial incentives to businesses willing to locate there. The agency is not only encouraging the substation, it will build it,” he wrote at the end of June.

By September LiveSOMA was reporting that Paul Henderson of the DA’s office asserted in a public meeting that plans for the substation were on track, and the Chron reported in November that the substation was expected to open in June 2012, around the same time, the Ex noted, that Twitter was expected to move into the area.

The substation “really is called into question now,” a SF Redevelopment Agency told the Ex yesterday, as the agency was going to pay the $500,000 necessary to renovate the space at 72 Sixth St for SFPD use, a contribution Supervisor Carmen Chu said was necessary for the project. Chu is chair of SF’s Budget and Finance Committee, which approved the substation’s lease last November.

At the time of the ruling upholding the decision to dismantle California’s redevelopment agencies, The California Redevelopment Association and League of California Cities said they will “work with state legislators immediately” in a bid to revive redevelopment in some way.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee called the decision disappointing and said redevelopment “spurred economic growth for our entire city at a time when we needed it most.”

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the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at eve@sfappeal.com.

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