Creek Park Plaza closure evokes protests from San Anselmo residents


Elliot Smith

A fence separates San Anselmo Avenue from the Creek Park picnic area.

The Marin County Flood and Water District has decided to close off a prominent dining area in the middle of San Anselmo, formally referred to as the Creek Park Plaza. Officials made this decision after declaring the adjacent bridge dangerous for recreational use. 

Although this decision may seem relatively straightforward, many San Anselmo residents have expressed anger towards the removal of the bridge, as it is a beloved spot for outdoor dining and socializing. Nextdoor users have discussed the closure online.

“I question the timing and motivation of the San Anselmo bridge structure closure,” said San Anselmo resident, Doug Ryan, on Nextdoor. “Any structure could collapse in an earthquake.”

Protests occurred at the site of the closure starting Sept. 16, and continued through the rest of the week. San Anselmo residents hung signs reading “R.I.P San Anselmo Downtown Community,” “Save Creek Park Plaza,” and “San Anselmo? Stand up for it!” on the chain link fence the flood and water district has placed to mark the closure of the area.

San Anselmo City Council member Ford Greene took to social media to post about the closure. 

“CALL TO ARMS. The County wants to shut down San Anselmo’s Creek Park Plaza and Sanctuary. PROTEST this arrogant power play. BRING SIGNS and LIVE BODIES to the PLAZA tomorrow,” Greene said.

According to San Anselmo Town Manager Dave Donery, there has been an extensive amount of town involvement in this issue, beyond just protesting.

An onlooker peers at the once lively Creek Park dining area. (Elliot Smith)

“Aside from people being very upset that it was taken away, we had a special Town Council meeting on Sept. 21, and we had 188 participants in that meeting, which may be the most I’ve seen in my fourteen years here with the town,” Donery said. “It was fairly universally agreed upon that we need to see anything we can do to get the plaza reopened.”

While the loss of a central area for dining may be disappointing for local residents, it presents a much bigger problem for restaurant owners in the surrounding area. Creekside San Anselmo, a restaurant bordering the Creek Park Plaza, addressed closure on their Instagram account. 

“San Anselmo Plaza is off limits due to structural integrity issues and imminent failure, according to The County of Marin. While this was inevitable, it came as a bit of a surprise and people are both generally uninformed and absolutely unhappy,” Creekside said in their post.

Dave Donery is in agreement that the closure of this seating area is definitely a potential problem for local businesses. 

“Since the installation of the plaza, we’ve seen economic vitality really go on the increase in town,” Donery said. “The fact that the plaza brings people into the downtown for a number of reasons definitely gives a boost to our local merchants.”

As of Sept. 29, Creekside has been able to relocate some of their outdoor seating to the other side of the chain link fence. The Creek Park Plaza, however, continues to be closed to the public.