2019 UPDATE: a new residence is being completed at the base of Al’s Park, at Market St. A concrete path was constructed through the park and some of the original ornaments and foliage have been removed to allow for the transport of people and construction materials. The owner of the residence has agreed to rebuild and maintain the Park once construction is complete.
Al Kovalick, age 98, has been a resident of Corbett Ave for more than 71 years. He has initiated several land beautification projects on unused city property over the past 60 years. His first project, in the 1950s, was at the corner of Corbett & Clayton . Corbett Clayton Garden maintenance has been led by Chris Smith for the past few years.
Al’s Park is located on land that extends from Corbett to Market. The land had been the last block of Mono St. When Market Street was widened in the 1960s, the City closed this block of Mono St permanently. The Park started life in the 1970’s. Initially, it was an overgrown weed patch. The City has supported his efforts by providing free water for irrigation.
Al created the Park at first by planting trees and maintaining the area closest to Corbett Ave. After Al retired from UCSF in 1980, he dedicated a part of each day to upgrading and maintaining the Park. Over time, he planted about 25 trees and other plants; most fruit bearing, and countless flowers, vines and shrubs. Plants in Al's Park in June 2019 include:
· Colorado Spruce (near entrance)
· Mission Fig
· Apple, 6 varieties
· Plum, 2 varieties
· Cherry, 4 varieties
· Cactus, 3 varieties
Al's Park is well known for its quirky art and displays. At the base of the Park, nearest Market, Al set up chairs for a magnificent view of SF. Over the past 40 years, many neighbors have assisted with maintenance, contributing trees, plants and “garden furniture”. Al’s Park is an essential part of Corbett life and has brought joy to many thousands of visitors over the past 40 years. The abundance of plant and tree life is a calming joy alongside the hum of a big city.
The Park is cited in several SF guide books and by some local tour guides. A Google search of “Al’s Park” shows many first page results. Numerous visitors have commented on the Park’s beauty in an urban setting. A few comments from social media are;
· How very beautiful this is and how peaceful it makes me feel!
· Your work brings a gift for all who love and learn from it
· A real undiscovered treasure close to the intersection of Corbett and Clayton is Al's Park
· Enter Al's Park and enjoy a strange, almost 19th century-feeling slice of eccentric San Francisco land use
· We had wandered into uncharted territory when a small sign disclosed Al's Park. Check out this hidden gem…