Last Thursday, the Isla Vista Recreation and Parks District convened with community members for its weekly meeting, addressing a number of upcoming local civic projects and concerns.
Beginning with general announcements, IVRPD Board of Directors Member Pegeen Soutar addressed locals’ recurring concerns regarding the alleged increase in criminal incidents occurring on Isla Vista’s unlit streets. There was also debate of other local issues, particularly concerning I.V., such as discussion of ongoing maintenance and restoration efforts at Anisq’Oyo’ Park, updates on the current fence project initiated by the Associated Students Office of the External Vice President of Local Affairs and plans to potentially implement laws requiring all dogs in I.V. to be leashed.
In regards to issues of street lighting, Soutar said civic groups have been seeking adequate funding to install more street lamps in the local community. According to Soutar, there is statistical evidence that additional lighting is necessary since much of I.V.’s crime is concentrated in more poorly lit areas.
“They’re trying to get $100,000 to do lighting in Isla Vista, and this is going to be going before the Board of Supervisors,” Soutar said. “They did some crime statistics … between El Nido, Pasado, Del Playa, all the way to Camino Corto is the bulk of, you know, where the crime happens.”
Although installation of new street lamps across Isla Vista would cost approximately $300,000, attaining this initial $100,000 grant would at least allow groups to install of lamps in the most crime-ridden portions of the community.
In another attempt to make Isla Vista safer, IVRPD met with county officials at Walter Capps Park to receive final approval for the Associated Students EVPLA fence project.
The Board also discussed progress on Anisq’Oyo’ Park’s pond maintenance and restoration, announcing that rebuilding plans for the park’s stage have been approved by the Planning and Development Department of Santa Barbara County.
General Manager of IVRPD General Manager Rodney Gould said the park recently received flowers as a donation from Santa Barbara Water Garden.
“[They] donated about one hundred water hyacinths, which are now split between the front and the back pond,” Gould said. “What those will do, they’ll help filter out a lot of the muck that’s in the water.”
Lotusland also contributed to the pond’s restoration by donating 50 to 100 plants for growth in the enclosure, according to Gould.
During the meeting, Gould suggested the district of Isla Vista adopt a series of leash laws, similar to those of Santa Barbara County, in order to waive the district’s liability for off-leash dog attacks. Gould said until I.V. implements these policies, it will continue to be responsible for these incidents.
“In the County of Santa Barbara, all of their parks have leash laws. They post a leash-free zone, and that sort of protects them a little bit,” Gould said. “In the meantime, we don’t have any protections. We don’t have leash laws in any of our parks.”
IVRPD meetings are open to the public and held on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month at 6 p.m.
A version of this article appeared on page 1 of March 4th, 2013′s print edition of the Daily Nexus.