SAN FRANCISCO—This week, the Beach Chalet soccer fields at Golden Gate Park have finally begun getting some long-time-coming upgrades in the form of new artificial turf fields, 60-foot stadium lights overhead, and spectator field bleachers.  On Tuesday, June 30, workers from Field Turf Construction were seen laying out the turf onto the total four soccer fields, more than seven acres.

The Beach Chalet soccer fields lie at the far west end of the rectangular Golden Gate Park, less than a 1000 feet from the Pacific Ocean. Since the fields will now feature artificial material as opposed to grass, water consumption will decrease drastically, saving about 6 million gallons of water. The grass-to-turf upgrade is also expected to triple the annual amount of use and play time to more than 14,000 hours.

A worker lays a sheet of turf onto the Beach Chalet soccer fields.
A worker lays a sheet of turf onto the Beach Chalet soccer fields.

The project is said to have cost a total of $13.2 million. It has been in the works for over a decade, but delayed thanks to heavy opposition by community members and activist groups concerned of the implications such changes to the fields would bring. Most critics arguing against the implementation of artificial turf and stadium lights cited, among other things, health hazard risks and ecological disruption.

The renovations were part of Proposition I, to add the artificial turf and lights to the fields while Proposition H rejected the changes. Prop I won with the voters and ground for the new turf was broken on November 5, 2014. The project is still being fought

Several changes off the soccer fields include adding a new, safer drop-off area for field users, more bike and car park spaces and improved disability access around the park.

“We always believed in the public policy behind the project. We want to activate that space. But it has been a long, strange path,” said SF City Recreation and Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg about the journey of the project.

The renovated Beach Chalet soccer fields are not set to officially open until December 2015.