After months of construction, Pardall Road is awaiting its finishing touches.
With all major road and cement work completed, the project will wrap up with the digging of planting holes for palm trees and the placing of Washington robustas around various intersections. According to Jeff Lindgren of the Santa Barbara County Redevelopment Agency, transplanting the palms is the last major project scheduled for Pardall.
“There are a couple of other little things to be done, but the last main piece is to finish reinstalling the palm trees,” Lindgren said. “All the concrete work and paving work is pretty much done and all the major disruptive and noisy pieces of construction are finished.”
Despite this, Lindgren said, parts of the Embarcadero del Norte intersection will be closed over the next week for the palm tree planting.
“It’s kind of an event to see these trees hoisted into the air and put into the holes,” he said. “There will be rotating road closures on different sections of the road, but they won’t last very long.”
The extensive Pardall reconstruction – the flagship project of the long-ranging Isla Vista Master Plan – disrupted student commutes and interfered with many local businesses. Some owners claimed the renovation registered up to a 90 percent sales drop for some businesses and blamed it for the demise of local establishments such as Mr. Pickle’s Sandwich Shop and CaliRoll Express.
However, Lindgren contends that the construction went as well as possible.
“It’s kind of like doing a remodeling of a house versus building a new house,” he said. “You have to work with all the existing conditions and accommodate the needs of the businesses and the students and residents while you’re also trying to work as quickly and efficiently as possible. You can’t work fast and quietly and cleanly and keep all the businesses open all at the same time. For the most part, everyone was really helpful, so it went relatively smoothly.”
A “Pardall Road Opening Event” is scheduled to take place April 30 from 4 to 7 p.m. The event will include street banners designed by UCSB Art Dept. students, live music, food and beverages. The staff of WORD — the Isla Vista Arts & Culture Magazine — will also be at the festival to release copies of the magazine’s spring edition.
“We’ll have a brief ribbon cutting ceremony and then we’re really going to transform the middle block of Pardall into an art gallery,” Lindgren said. “[It will be a] chance for the community to get together and enjoy the nearly finished streetscape project.”
Now that the Pardall project is nearing completion, the Santa Barbara County Redevelopment Agency hopes that it will improve business prosperity and attract community interaction.
“The goal and the vision of the Isla Vista Master Plan was to establish Pardall as the main street for Isla Vista and to recreate downtown I.V. as a place for businesses to survive,” Lindgren said. “We want students to take advantage of the beauty and climate that I.V. has to offer.”