What a transformation from a neglected, graffiti-tagged shell of a Conservatory to an award-winning jewel.
We were over the moon when the Friends won one of four coveted San Francisco Beautiful Awards for the Conservatory restoration. The Conservatory was also awarded Project of the Year Award 2009 for Historic Restorations (under $5 million). The honor was granted to the SF Department of Public Works by the Northern California chapter of the American Public Works Association covering 11 counties.
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The Grand Re-Opening Day (December 5, 2009) was more wonderful that the Friends dared dream. Over 400 people showed up. We made that morning’s San Francisco Chronicle with a photo on the front page, the sun shone, bagpipes played, the mayor and dignitaries came, family and friends were there, the ribbon was cut, tours were given, the high-tea spread was bountiful, kids made souvenir buttons, and the community came together.
The Friends of Sunnyside Conservatory began with a few neighborhood residents, each discovering the Conservatory and having that Alice-in-Wonderland feeling of entering another world.
In 1999, with a notice in the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association newsletter, Arnold Levine officially organized the group as the Friends. He and Stacy Garfinkel have served as Friends’ Co-Chairs since the group’s founding. Our advocacy + stewardship success could never have happened without a dedicated steering committee: Chester Harstough, Andrea O’Leary, Sally Ross, pro-bono landscape architect … Read More
The story of the restoration interweaves the Friends’ decade of advocacy, pilot programming, and inventive, can-do spirit with the Merralls’s original vision.
Friends had to build a coalition of many constituencies (including immediate neighbors, area residents, city employees, elected officials, the design team) and navigate the inevitable trying moments, delays, and bureaucracy that come along with a large public works project.
We had to educate ourselves about the design process–from the drafting of the conceptual design (drawn by Vera Gates), … Read More
On the evening of Friday, October 14, 2011 at its annual awards gala at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco Beautiful honored the Friends of Sunnyside Conservatory with a prestigious 2011 Beautification Award.
Sunnyside Conservatory was selected as one of four exemplary new projects contributing to San Francisco’s unique beauty and livability. The evening was entitled, “Together for San Francisco: A Masquerade Soiree, and Stacy Garfinkel and Arnold Levine accepted the award on behalf of the Friends.
For over 60 years, … Read More