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The Isla Vista Recreation and Park District is currently planning a reconstruction project at Anisq’Oyo Park after flames destroyed the park’s stage more than six months ago.
Anisq’Oyo Park has been a prominent part of Isla Vista culture for many years, serving as the venue for events such as the Jugglers’ Convention, Chilla Vista, Shakespeare in the Park and various music festivals. The stage was burned down last year when a fire caused by a homeless woman’s cigarette destroyed the wooden floorboards.
Rodney Gould, the general manager of IVRPD, said the organization plans to rebuild the stage in a more secure way, as to avoid any more potential disasters from occurring.
“Anisq’Oyo Park has always been sort of the cultural center of I.V., historically. Over the most recent years, it’s been neglected, and hasn’t been a very inviting place for the community,” Gould said. “We’re going to rebuild it, and instead of having a wooden top, we’re going to have a colored stamp concrete top. That’ll kind of make it bulletproof — no more fires.”
In addition to a more solid foundation, IVRPD hopes to put a shell behind the stage in order to direct noise away from nearby businesses, Gould said.
“It’ll depend on how much money we can raise. Eventually, we’d like to get new lighting there. We have a lot of plans, but baby steps,” Gould said.
The construction plans are currently in the hands of the Santa Barbara County Building Department, but Gould expects the permits to be finished within a month, and the construction to be completed after another month. According to Gould, the renovation will cost about $15,000, and though the board has approved some of the money, the rest will have to be gathered through fundraisers. IVRPD plans to work with a Santa Barbara-based nonprofit organization called New Noise that focuses on supporting music and other cultural events.
The first fundraiser will be a concert series held this Saturday at Anisq’Oyo Park, from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. featuring acts like: Versus the World, Naked Walrus, Indian Trading Furs, Bad Jack and Ben Babylon.
IVRPD’s fundraising efforts are also being supported by UCSB alumni, several of whom will be performing during the concert as a way to ensure that Anisq’Oyo Park remains central to I.V. culture, according to Gould.
“Some of the bands that are coming back for these fundraisers are past students who played on that stage, and they’re motivated to come back because it played sort of an important role in their lives,” Gould said. “It should be all-encompassing for the entire community.”
This Saturday’s concert will offer booths available for different organizations to use for marketing purposes or to get a message out, Gould said. Renting out a booth will cost $65.
IVRPD Board of Directors Chair Sawyeh Maghsoodloo, a third-year political science major, said the stage has brought big names and local acts to I.V. and must be restored.
“It has been used for decades for concerts, almost weekly in the ‘70s. More recently, it has housed Rebelution and other local and big names,” Maghsoodloo said. “This stage will be the first step in rebuilding our sense of Isla Vista community.”
In the summertime, the park used to host movie nights for families, and during the school year, many student groups rent the stage for private events, Gould said. By reconstructing the stage, IVRPD hopes to revive the cultural scene of Isla Vista.
“We hope to bring more theater back,” Gould said. “I think once it’s a more inviting area, people will want to use it for all kinds of things. We’re hoping to bring it back as the center of community activity.”
A version of this article appeared on page 1 of January 28th, 2013′s print edition of the Nexus.