pp/y  Clean Water State  Revolving Fund
                        Green  Project  Reserve
                                    Clean Water
       Case Study: The EcoCenter at Heron's Head Park in San Francisco
          Demonstrating community sustainability and revitalization

   Since its founding in 1998, Literacy for Environmental Justice (LEJ) has actively worked with community
   leaders, educators, and youth to address the significant environmental and public health concerns of the
   Bayview Hunters Point community, located in San Francisco's southeastern corner. LEJ provides free
   environmental education programs to classroom and youth groups at Heron's Head Park, a 24-acre park
   with eight acres of restored wetlands in Bayview Hunters Point. The California State Water Resource
   Control Board's Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) program is helping improve this site through
   an award of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding, furthering LEJ's educational
   mission while reducing the environmental footprint of an important community space.

   On Earth Day of 2010, LEJ opened its new EcoCenter at Heron's Head Park (see picture below). Funded
   in part by $350,160 in ARRA CWSRF funds and located at the former site of an abandoned brownfield,
   the  EcoCenter will serve as a learning center for community youth about energy efficiency, waste
   management, water conservation, green infrastructure and green building. This project had originally
   been awarded state grant funding, but these grant funds became unavailable due to the recession,
   putting the project on hold for eight months. The availability of CWSRF ARRA funding allowed LEJ to
   move forward and complete this innovative project. While the ARRA funds are in the form of a loan,
   the entire loan principal has been forgiven.

   The 1,500 square foot facility is powered by solar energy. The EcoCenter also treats its own wastewater
   using constructed wetlands, biological treatment, and ultraviolet sterilization lamps. In addition, it
   features a green roof and native landscaping,  which conserve water and prevent stormwater runoff.
   ARRA money funded the construction of the green roof, rainwater catchments,  native landscaping, and
   a constructed wetland located inside the building to treat wastewater. ARRA funds also went towards
   developing educational signage and outreach materials.
CWSRF Green  Project Reserve  1

LEJ hopes that the EcoCenter will serve as an example of sustainability for the rest of the community. A
sustainable project involves more than just reducing waste, pollution, and energy; it requires holistic
thinking about how a project fits into its social, economic, and physical setting. Every feature of the
EcoCenter was designed to be a teaching tool for sustainability and green building design. It exemplifies
principles of community sustainability and livability by emphasizing the interconnection of social,
economic, and environmental issues as they relate to the history of the Bayview Hunters Point

Bayview Hunters Point was once a bustling hub of industrial activity.  Employment and housing
opportunities expanded significantly in the area during World War II when the U.S. Navy acquired the
shipyards at Hunters Point and constructed new dry docks, industrial shops, and warehouses to meet
demand for warships in the Pacific. The decommissioning of the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in 1974
left many residents unemployed and impoverished with no new employment opportunities nearby.
Increasing suburbanization and freeway construction further isolated the community from the rest of
the city. As living conditions in the area worsened, it became nearly impossible to attract private
investment to this part of San Francisco.

Today, the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood is home to more than 33,000 people, a significant
portion of which are racial or ethnic minorities. Approximately 30 percent of the residents are below the
age of 21 - a percentage that is higher than any other part of the city. In 2001, nearly 22 percent of the
residents were below the  poverty line and unemployment was well above average. Additionally, the
community has dozens of toxic waste sites, including a 500-acre Superfund site, and has the highest
water and air pollution emissions in the city. Rates of breast and cervical cancer, congestive heart
failure, hypertension, diabetes, emphysema, and asthma are significantly higher in Bayview Hunters
Point than in other parts of the San Francisco Bay Area.

However, there  is reason for hope for renewal in the Bayview Hunters Point. The EcoCenter at Heron's
Head Park is consistent with the land use plans for the area, which aim to achieve a balance of
residential, commercial, and open space uses; stimulate development in underused and declining areas;
and increase pedestrian-oriented neighborhood commercial and social activities, among others. The
EcoCenter helps to further establish Heron's Head Park as an open space for residents to gather and
socialize while learning about local plants  and wildlife and the importance of sustainability. It
demonstrates economic development potential by using green technology and design for efficient
water, energy, and waste  management.

It is fitting that the views from the EcoCenter include that of a recently decommissioned power plant,
the toxic former naval shipyard, and the dilapidated Hunters View public housing complex. They are all
part  of the largest redevelopment project in the city's history, which will invest more than $2 billion of
public and private capital for public infrastructure and transit, open space, mixed-income housing, and
new  commercial space to  attract "greentech" businesses and jobs to  the area. In  2007, the T-Third
Street Muni Metro line opened and brought much-needed public  transportation to Bayview Hunters
Point, helping to reintegrate the community with the rest of the city and promote residential and
commercial development in the area. The ongoing redevelopment project is striving for at least LEED for
Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) Gold certification and will include solar power arrays, on-site
stormwater management techniques, restoration of waterfront habitat, and use of advanced
technologies for energy and water efficiency and waste management.
 EPA-832-F-12-018                        CWSRF  Green  Project  Reserve   2

This ARRA CWSRF-funded project demonstrates the possibilities for sustainable redevelopment of this
distressed area. The EcoCenter's sustainable physical attributes are complemented by the educational
opportunities LEJ offers community youth as it works to instill a sense of pride in the community and
environment. The EcoCenter at Heron's Head  Park received an EPA 2010 Environmental Justice Award.
Project Manager Laurie Schoeman said that "having the ability to show youth an actual green roof and
rainwater cistern is ten times more powerful than describing the systems or reading about the systems
online - or even going to upscale communities to visit these systems. We have been able to bring
cutting edge green building designs to a community that is in most need for environmental

For more information please contact the California Clean Water State Revolving Fund Program
 EPA-832-F-12-018                        CWSRF Green  Project  Reserve   3