|History of the Officer Douglas E. Gibbs pier|
In the 1950's numerous children had an opportunity to learn how to fish at Lake Merced and many did with the help of local police officers.
In 1978, a year after San Francisco police Officer Douglas E. Gibbs was shot through the heart and killed while on patrol in the Tenderloin, dozens of his friends and family members gathered at Lake Merced to dedicate a children's fishing pier in his memory. The idea for a memorial pier came about because Gibbs, who left behind three daughters and a wife, regularly took children on boating trips during the summers.
25 years later, in 2003 the pier has rotted and collapsed. A jungle of weeds surrounds the chain-link fence that blocks the pier from public use, and trash is littered throughout the memorial area. Betsy Aronson of San Francisco noticed the condition and contacted ChronicleWatch. "Surely something can be done to restore the dignity of this fallen hero," she said.
Status: Elizabeth Goldstein, general manager of the city's Recreation and Park Department, told ChronicleWatch that she is well aware of the memorial pier's condition. "It's definitely on our radar screen and we're going to take care of it as fast as we can," she said. However, Goldstein explained, the pier is part of a long-term project that may take as long as a year to complete. The plan is to renovate the entire area, including the nearby Boathouse restaurant, which is also closed due to its bad condition. And in order to properly rebuild the pier, Lake Merced's exact water level must be decided -- another issue expected to be resolved within a year. Then in September 2007 ChronicleWatch wrote: At Lake Merced, a fishing pier dedicated to slain San Francisco police Officer Douglas Gibbs, an issue ChronicleWatch tracked in 2003-04, will remain closed indefinitely because other projects have priority, said parks spokeswoman Rose Dennis.
Today many have never even seen this fishing pier as it fell into disrepair when lake levels dropped and tulles took over the lake shore all but destroying the pier. What is left can be seen though the weeds but it would be dangerous to attempt walking on it. The more adventurous may have noticed the blue monument and police star incribed "This pier is dedicated by the citizens of San Francisco in memory of Officer Douglas E. Gibbs killed in the line of duty November 23, 1977" He was only 27 at the time.
We need to find a way to restore this pier and the dignity due this officer.