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Ting secures state funding to upgrade Japantown Buchanan Mall

San Francisco’s Japantown Buchanan Mall is getting $5 million in state funding for repairs and upgrades that will revitalize the one-block pedestrian walkway and commercial corridor.

Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, joined community members Tuesday morning at the Torii Gate entrance to make the funding announcement. The pedestrian walkway is flanked by businesses and restaurants on Buchanan Street between Post and Sutter streets.

Ching Wong/SFBay The pedestrian walkway at the Buchanan Mall in Japantown in San Francisco, Calif., on Tuesday, August 24, 2021. (Ching Wong / SFBay.ca)

Ting said in a statement that the attention and crucial support for the Asian and Pacific Islander communities is long overdue, especially amid the rise in crime against the API community.

He said:

“Japantown, like many API communities, has not received the types of investments needed to thrive and provide valued historical lessons that teach us about the mistakes of the past and foster greater understanding.”

Ting’s office said the funding will be used to repairing one of the mall’s key centerpieces: the Origami Fountains designed by renowned artist Ruth Asawa. It has been more than 10 years since the fountains flowed.

Cost to fix the fountains was estimated at more than $400,000 in a 2016 report by ARG Conservation Services, a consultant chosen by the Arts Commission and Department of Public Works, according to the Japantown Community Benefits District.

Ching Wong/SFBay The Buchanan Mall toward the Peace Plaza in Japantown in San Francisco, Calif., on Tuesday, August 24, 2021. (Ching Wong / SFBay.ca)

The district also said the cobblestone pathway requires work to become ADA compliant. Additionally, new lighting is part of the “vision plan” for the Buchanan Mall.

Jon Osaki, executive director of the Japanese Community Youth Council, said in a statement:

“The small businesses in the Buchanan Mall are critical to the character, culture and economy of Japantown. I am grateful to Assemblymember Ting for making our community a priority in the state budget.”

Improvements to the mall complement another project at Japantown’s Peace Plaza that will fix leaking into the public garage situated below and focus on using the public space more effectively.

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