Thanks to some elbow grease from the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District (IVRPD), Sueno Park has gotten a major facelift.

After getting a $50,000 grant from the California Integrated Waste Management Board, the IVRPD added a new playground and landscaping to the once barren lot. The new park cost approximately $80,000 because all the playground equipment is made of recycled materials. The picnic tables are made entirely of recycled plastic and all the other equipment is at least 50 percent recycled material.

“It’s expensive equipment, but we won’t have to replace it for 30 years,” said Derek Johnson, general manager for the IVRPD.

Rebuilding the park started Sept. 30, 2002 and finished Jan. 23, 2003, seven days ahead of schedule and $3,500 under budget.

Karen Verhoef, a UCSB alumna, lives near the park. She said she likes to take her children out to play, but was wary of the numerous homeless people hanging around Sueno Park before the remodeling. She said she feels the park is now a safer place for her to take her children and is enjoyed by a variety of people.

“Sometimes at night, even college kids are out here playing,” Verhoef said.

Not everyone has been so receptive to the new park.

“Someone is throwing bottles at the playground equipment and the glass is getting in the fiber [ground cover]. If you don’t like the park, go to the park district and talk to us,” IVRPD board member Diane Conn said.

Tyler Freeberg, a UCSB junior communication major, said she remembers the park before the remodeling and thinks it is much better now.

“I think it opens it up for a lot of children,” Freeberg said, “and it looks a lot cleaner and makes I.V. look a lot better.”