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Last Thursday, local officials and members of the public gathered at Walter Capps Park to take part in a ribbon cutting ceremony for a newly erected wooden fence along the park’s oceanside cliff.
Spanning 390 feet along the Walter Capps Park bluff, the project is the result of collaboration between Associated Students External Vice President of Local Affairs Rhandy Siordia, the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District and Santa Barbara County administration.
Congresswoman Lois Capp’s son Todd Capps and daughter Laura Capps both attended the event as a tribute to the park, named in honor of their father, former UCSB religious studies professor Walter Capps. Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr was also present at the ribbon cutting ceremony, along with two news crews and other Isla Vista community members.
According to Siordia, the fence’s funding process was initially planned to be a collaboration of funding between potential contributors such as Associated Students, Capp’s office and IVRPD, among other local entities. Ultimately, however, the county decided to fund the entirety of the $6,300 project in order to deter future potential dangers posed by Isla Vista’s cliffs.
“A.S. money wasn’t used for funds at all,” Siordia said. “It’s a county-owned park, so I think they had the realization to take responsibility for it in support of the community.”
Initiated in September and built on March 24 within three days, the fence is the culmination of a project meant to address hazardous unprotected Isla Vista cliffs, especially in light of two recent cliff-related fatalities this year, Siordia said.
“Cliff falls are a unique issue here. There are not a lot of college campuses around country where you have that and where that’s a problem,” Siordia said. “I’m hoping the fence will raise awareness about that issue because people definitely need to exercise a certain amount of caution around these cliffs.”