Correction: Nov. 20’s “Project Aims to Create DP Blufftop Park” stated that former 3rd District Supervisor Bill Wallace halted purchasing of blufftop parcels. Former Supervisor Willy Chamberlain was responsible for that decision.
The Nexus regrets this error.
The few remaining vacant lots on Del Playa Drive may soon become public parks for residents of Isla Vista.
The Isla Vista Blufftop Parcels Acquisition Project is aiming to purchase the seven remaining privately owned blocks of land along the 6700 and 6800 blocks of DP. Five of these blocks of vacant land exist contiguously along the 6700 block and two contiguously on the 6800 block. If successfully purchased, the new parcels would join together with previously purchased blocks, creating two publicly owned park areas totaling around three acres.
“We’ve been able to purchase several blocks of property along DP over the years,” said Mark Chaconas, assistant to Third District Supervisor Gail Marshall. “This is the continuation of a project that we were able to accomplish in the early ’90s.”
Soon after the first acquisitions, former supervisor Willy Chamberlain decided to stop purchasing these parcels, which led to a slow completion of the project, Chaconas said.
The two completed open space areas – if and when the land is acquired – will become public parks, with the ownership likely to transfer to the Isla Vista Recreation and Parks District. Thereafter, decisions on exactly what to renovate and repair will be made.
Eventually, the IVRPD will discuss what potential enhancements may be made to the parks, but not before much needed restoration work is done to the wetlands on the 6800 block.
“Parcels that have the wetlands on them we will likely restore,” said project planner George Amoon. “The work is similar to what has previously been done on lands near Francisco Torres.”
Funding is currently being sought to acquire the parcels, with the total cost of all seven estimated to be between $2 and 2.5 million. Grants are the primary means of funding, with money coming from different organizations and programs.
“We’re currently looking to a variety of sources to cobble the money to buy these properties,” Chaconas said.
One such program called the Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program provides up to $250,000 for the acquisition of “roadside recreational opportunities.” Money from this fund will be used to acquire one of the two parcels on the 6800 block of DP.
The IVRPD itself may also become a source of funding, using money it recently acquired from propositions 12 and 40, which contain provisions for the preservation of parks and their surrounding communities.
“There aren’t many vacant blufftop properties left in Isla Vista,” said IVRPD General Manager Derek Johnson. “It’s very good planning to acquire these properties for use as open space.”