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A Message from Jake Levinson, President, Discover Polk CBD - Here's to the New Year

Well, that one was a doozy! We think we speak for many by saying good riddance to 2020 and welcome to 2021. But while last year brought incredible, unprecedented challenges to our district, we also saw just how resilient, good-hearted, and unique we are as a community. In our humble opinion, 2020 showed us all just how valuable Discover Polk CBD’s truly is!

At the start of the pandemic, one of Discover Polk CBD’s proudest achievements was working with our contractor, StreetPlus, to continue uninterrupted sidewalk cleaning, power washing, and steam cleaning service. This was no small feat, requiring both the acquisition of PPE (during a national shortage) and the coordination with StreetPlus on extensive new COVID19 protocols for their employees. From the onset of the crisis, our Executive Management team stayed in constant contact with residents and merchants in the district, helping them understand new mandates, drive business to their struggling storefronts, and respond to stakeholder concerns. From a public safety standpoint, we built relationships with the SFPD and strengthened our communication with residents and merchants to address public safety issues in real-time. We installed five new Big Belly trash cans along Polk Street through a generous grant from SF OEWD. We received an additional, anonymous donation that provided $5000 in grants to small businesses in our district toward building their parklets for outdoor dining service. We organized a socially distanced, district-wide art exhibition called “Delicious To Go,” which raised over $5000 for the SF-Marin Food Bank, and the year ended with the installation of tree lights on dozens of trees up and down the corridor and two professional-quality projectors casting holiday messages on Maple Hall and the Lombardis building. Finally, we implemented a full social media communications strategy across multiple applications, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and (coming soon) NextDoor and have seen our audiences and engagements grow exponentially since we started. Quite a year of accomplishment on its own, let alone given the extraordinary circumstances!

By all accounts, 2020 was a massive success for Discover Polk CBD, but we couldn’t be more excited about what 2021 will bring to our community. We expect the first half (at least) of the year to be much like the latter half of 2020, with COVID19 restrictions abounding until the wide distribution of a vaccine. But that will not slow us down! We will kick the year off with a Board-wide retreat to set our goals and then delve right into the work of making them happen. We will continue our progress with streetscape improvements, including a comprehensive lighting plan for Polk Street, and review our options for permanent art installations for the corridor. We’ll also be participating in a working group, established by a group of community members and stakeholders, to reimagine the California and Van Ness Trolley Terminus. We plan to grow our communication channels and build our networks to better respond to our community’s needs. And last but not least, we are committed to doing everything in our power to make our district the safest, cleanest, and most loved in the City!

On a final note, we want to personally thank each member of the Discover Polk community for your love of and commitment to our neighborhood. We cannot wait to work with our residents, merchants, and property owners to strengthen the experience of living in and visiting Discover Polk for years to come!

Jake Levinson, President, Discover Polk CBD