Lake Merced Boat House Reopens After $3.2 Million Renovation

The Lake Merced Boat House in San Francisco reopened today after a $3.2 million renovation upgrading the interior and exterior of the facility.

“Lake Merced is a major water, recreational and natural resource for San Franciscans and our visitors,” said Phil Ginsburg, general manager of the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, in a news release. “We are excited the newly renovated boat house will become a welcoming community hub for those who enjoy water activities and natural areas at Lake Merced.

The Boat House, which is used primarily by local rowing clubs, had been closed since last fall, according to Connie Chan, deputy director of public affairs for the Recreation and Park Department.

The renovations include upgrades to finishes, equipment, lights, fixtures and fire alarms, reconfigured interior spaces and new decking on the exterior balcony. There is also a new accessible exterior concrete ramp as well as new landings and landscaping, Chan said.

The Boat House contains a storage area for rowing and boating equipment downstairs and conference and exercise rooms upstairs, Chan said.

“The recent Boat House renovations enhance this wonderful public treasure for all of San Francisco to enjoy,” said Harlan L. Kelly, Jr., general manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, in a news release.

The SFPUC and the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department funded the Boat House renovations jointly. The SFPUC owns Lake Merced, and the Recreation and Park Department operates it, Chan said.

Lake Merced is the largest freshwater lake in San Francisco and is located in the city’s southwestern corner in a 614-acre park that also contains a fishing pier, picnic areas and a boat launch.

Drew Himmelstein, Bay City News

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  • samrivers

    $3.2 million, huh? The original budget was $2 million and the job was supposed to be finished over a year ago. There hasn’t been a fishing concession at Lake Merced since 1999 and when we inquire about a concessionaire to use the new concession space in the refurbished Boathouse we get no response. Actually, SFPUC, which owns Lake Merced and claims to be ultimately in charge refers the inquiry to Wreck & Park, and a very deafening silence ensues. Storage space for the high school and adult rowers in the basement of the Boathouse building is woefully inadequate, and nothing was done to deal with that issue as SF spent $3.2 million of someone’s money fixing up what will now essentially be an empty building. The Lake Merced Watershed Report done around 2010 cost the City over $500,000 in consultants’ fees and it specifically suggested tearing the old Boathouse down and doing it right. But No, SF is SF, and the bureaucrats and politicos in SF do it their way; and the cost and the public be damned. Did I mention that the high school rowers who use the exercise room upstairs in the refurbished building will have to pay extra to use the bathrooms? It’ll take a lot of visits to the latrine to recoup that $3.2 million.

    • John Carver

      totally agree. What a waste of a great resource. I left the area and the degradation of Lake Merced was a part of it.

      What a waste