The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted Tuesday to donate the last $200,000 needed to purchase baseball fields located near Girsh Park.
The Fields Forever Campaign, which was created by The Foundation for Girsh Park, struggled to raise the $4 million needed to purchase the ball fields by May 1. The Board of Supervisors contributed another $800,000 last year, and the Goleta City Council donated $400,000 last week.
The money the board dedicated to the campaign was generated outside of Goleta by the South Coast West Quimby and Development Mitigation Fee Trust Funds, according to information provided by 3rd District Supervisor Gail Marshall and 2nd District Supervisor Susan Rose. These funds are designated for recreational facilities in residential areas.
Girsh Park, located behind the Camino Real Marketplace, includes over 12 acres of land permanently designated as a public park and 13 acres of land which house various recreational groups such as the Dos Pueblos Little League. The 13-acre portion of the park was put on sale by Camino Real III L.L.C. President Mark Linehan last spring, and was assessed at a value of $6 million. Linehan offered to sell the portion of the park to The Foundation for Girsh Park, which is responsible for the maintenance of the entire 25-acre park, at a discounted price of $4 million, if they could raise the money by May 1.
At yesterday’s meeting Marshall said preserving the fields is an immediate concern of hers.
“There is an immediate need for preserving Girsh Park. The park serves an area broader than the Goleta Valley. This decision is uplifting and exciting,” Marshall said.
Mark Chaconas, Marshall’s assistant, said the board viewed preserving the ball fields as an issue of critical importance.
“The issue came before the board because Supervisors Rose and Marshall thought the community needed to help pay for the fields,” Chaconas said. “The leadership demonstrated by Supervisors Marshall and Rose gives the cause necessary momentum.”
Danny Terry, a supporter of Dos Pueblos Little League, said the fields play a vital role in the community.
“There are 350 families that make up Dos Pueblos Little League,” he said. “Around this time, these families are out on the field every weekend.”