Central Subway: $1.6 Billion Project May Hinge on Judge's Definition of “Recreation”

Yesterday, SF Weekly broke the news that opponents of the Central Subway have found a loose legal thread they hope unravels the embattled $1.6 billion project.

A portion of Section 4.113 of the City Charter — a backwater within the voluminous document governing our city — notes that “No park land may be sold or leased for non-recreational purposes, nor shall any structure on park property be built, maintained or used for non-recreational purposes, unless approved by a vote of the electors.”

You didn't miss a vote about the planned subway station at Union Square, which is on park land. It didn't happen. If a court finds the city erred and must go to the voters before building the station — a job that's scheduled to go out to bid in the next month — the resulting delay would likely kill the project. So, a great deal may be riding on what a judge thinks is “recreational” and what isn't.

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