Excursions to a local park will no longer be interrupted by the call of nature, thanks to new facilities that took five years in the making.
The Isla Vista Recreation and Parks District (IVRPD) celebrated the grand opening of a bathroom and storage facility Friday in Children’s Park, located on the corner of Camino Del Sur and Picasso Road. The project, which had been under construction since 1997, also includes a handball court.
“The idea originated in a community meeting. It took us five years to arrange the project,” IVRPD General Manager Derek Johnson said. “I think it’s a great project. I think it’s something this community needs. Part of our overall strategic plan was to meet the community’s recreational needs.”
UCSB Dean of Students Yonie Harris said she was pleased the university was able to contribute $10,000 toward the project.
“I love the fact that we have this wonderful facility. It was a product of great effort, community effort,” she said. “I think it’s particularly important because it’s for the kids of the community. It’s really important for kids to have a great place to play.”
Mark Chaconas, executive assistant to 3rd District Supervisor Gail Marshall, said Children’s Park has grown in recent years due to a conscientious community effort to improve recreational spaces for I.V.’s youth.
“A couple of years ago this park didn’t have anything. Gail is really proud that this park is growing up like the community is. The [IVRPD] has done a great job over the last five years,” he said. “The true key to this is that this is Children’s Park and a number of kids come through. It’s just good, clean fun.”
IVRPD Recreation Coordinator Anne E. Aziz said an average of 90 children visit the park per day, and the new bathrooms and storage space are a necessary addition.
“Bathrooms after five years. It’s a real relief,” she said. “It’s also storage for arts and crafts, games and equipment. And it stores the snacks we give to the kids. The building was designed to have a handball court.”
Children’s Park is one of the most frequently used parks in Isla Vista, and the bathrooms were badly needed, IVRPD Board Director Pegeen Soutar said. “It’s the site of many after-school programs for kids,” she said. “We’ve held programs here for five years.”
The grand opening ceremony concluded with a speech in which Soutar thanked the I.V. community and sponsors, including the Santa Barbara Foundation and the Park Foundation.
“This is one of those projects everyone can embrace and support. These collaborative efforts are what made this possible. This is an example of what happens when the community comes together,” Soutar said. “Thanks to all the people in the community. Thanks to all the little kids that make this park a great place to come to.”
The bathrooms are open Monday through Friday during daytime hours.