May 9, 2012

Noe Valley Town Square Needs A Dede Wilsey

The Noe Valley Town Square was introduced as a concept in 2010 when Todd David and Christopher Keene stepped up to take charge of saving public space on 24th St. A design firm was contracted, ideas were explored. The neighborhood was largely for the concept. But who would pay for it? Unclear.

Skip ahead to a few weeks ago: The Noe Valley Voice announced that the parking lot that currently hosts the Noe Valley Farmers Market (and could some day be the Town Square) is almost out of time -- the NV Ministry is ready to sell to a developer.

Perhaps too late, this week the Residents for Noe Valley Town Square launched a campaign to raise the roughly $3,000,000 needed to secure matching City funds for a Town Square in Noe Valley. (You can vote on the campaign poster and even donate on

$3M? In Noe Valley? Many local houses sell for that. Plenty of NV residents could write that check today. That much money was easily raised for the over-the-top playground at Dolores Park. The point much do you want a Town Square on 24th St? Would you pony up a few dollars? Do you know someone who could? Do you know someone who could bring true fundraising to bear?

Contrast: The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake rendered the De Young Museum a disaster zone. The solution? Pacific Heights socialite Dede Wilsey spear-headed fundraising to rebuild. The SF Ballet needed money? Dede was there. Dede most recently helped to raise money for the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Mission Bay. All cost a lot of money.

Noe Valley needs a Dede Wilsey. Otherwise, the Farmers Market, Mona Caron's murals and all that unused parking will become condos.

[Noe Valley Town Square]
[NVSF: Town Square]


Anonymous said...

Does this have to be a "donor" or can we get investor types to help chip in this money and in return they own the town square and can charge the farmer's market vendors fees to participate (maybe even collect a percent of sales) and also charge for any concerts or other events that would be held in the open space? Not sure how lucrative a venture this would be or if it could ever turn a profit after the $3M upfront cost plus all the required ongoing maintenance, but just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Some of us aren't millionaires and rent houses in Noe Valley. Additionally I am on a work visa and don't have the money so that a city can pay for a parking lot to turn into a square I'll likely never use.

How much are you personally donating?

Anonymous said...

I support the Town Square concept, but saying that the Farmer's Market will go away if the lot sells and condos are built is just scare tactics in my opinion. The Farmer's Market doesn't require the parking lot. It can set up in a portion of a closed street every Saturday. It's done all over the City. Have you even visited the Castro or Hayes Valley Farmer's markets? They seem to work just fine. I think it would be great to make 24th Street pedestrian-only from Church to Castro on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Let the kids ride their bikes and scooters around a flat street safely. Let people stroll the streets and shops. Let people enjoy an EXPANDED Farmer's Market not constrained by the tiny space of the parking lot. We could have a much larger Farmer's Market if we wanted it. For free.

Anonymous said...

We all need a Dede Wilsey...i am personally waiting for Superman to save us all..

Anonymous said...

Close down a street? Yeah, the community really took to that last time it was suggested. Keep up the crankiness you guys, its really fun to read. Loved the scare tactics comment. Really enjoyable.

Todd David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Todd David said...

At best, the future of the Farmers' Market is unclear.

One thing is for sure, if a developer purchases the lot and builds condos over retail, the Farmers' Market will not continue in its current location.

There are other potential locations for the Farmers' Market--James Lick's parking lot or closing 24th St for a portion of the day. However, there are no guarantees that SFUSD will rent James Lick's parking lot (insurance issues) or that the community will support closing down 24th St. (we've traveled down that path before. ..) Believing in either of those scenarios takes a pretty strong leap of faith.

If you love the Farmers' Market and you want to see it continue, the safest way to support that happening is to support the Noe Valley Town Square by making a financial pledge at

The community support has been amazing. Keep it coming!

Todd David
Residents for The Noe Valley Town Square

Anonymous said...

Not a chance in hell. I want to see the NIMBYs who blocked the other project and said "Oh what we really need to do is buy the Farmer's Market Lot" suffer the backlash when the market disappears and we have zero public space.

There was no chance of this ever happening.

Anonymous said...

I'm not following the last comment at all. Don't understand what you are trying to say, or imply.

Closing off a portion of 24th St. for a Saturday Morning farmers market is a good idea. It doesn't mean a permanent street closure, just for one day a week. In Palm Springs they close off Palm Canyon Drive every Thursday nite for Village Fest. The people LOVE it. WE can do the same.

Question to Todd David: If we pledged money, and the project did not go thru, what happens to the funds and do we get our money back? Who controls the money? Is Noe Valley Town Square a legal business entity?

Finally, if the lot is sold to a developer and housing and retail is built, it will NOT be the end of Noe Valley, nor 24th St.

Todd David said...

Anon 5:30--

Thanks for your question.

The financial pledge you are making is truly a "pledge." Residents for Noe Valley Town Square will not collect one dollar of the pledges until we know that the deal is happening.

For example, the City would need to agree to release proceeds from the Open Space Fund and the Church would have to agree to sell the property to us before we collect actual money from the pledges.

The San Francisco Parks Alliance is the Fiscal Sponsor of the Residents for Noe Valley Town Square. The San Francisco Parks Alliance would be the legal entity that would hold the money. Furthermore, the San Francisco Parks Alliance is a non-profit 501(c)(3). This means that once money is collected for this project, your contribution is tax deductible.

Let me know if this answers your questions.

Todd David

Anonymous said...

what happens if the pledgee's renege? The Ministry is going to want to be shown the $$$

Anonymous said...

We should build a parking garage. And outlaw dancing.

Typical Cranky Noe Neighbor

Anonymous said...

I'd donate $100 easily.

Would like to see some sort of park - Delores is too far away and Douglass is too far up 24th from where we live (same for Noe Rec Center).

Anonymous said...

It's spelled DOLORES.

forrestgreen said...

If someone reneges, the wrathful ghost of Jose de Jesus Noe will cause them to incur an unholy amount of parking tickets equal to twice the amount of their pledge ;-)