The fate of Pardall Gardens was debated at the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District’s (IVRPD) board meeting on Thursday evening, as well as a proposal from the property owners of Perfect Park to rent out parking spaces to students and residents.
Board members discussed a proposal to sell Pardall Gardens, located on Pardall Road, to help fund a community center project.
“We’re engaged in the process of building a community center in Isla Vista,” IVRPD General Manager Derek Johnson said. “We’re looking roughly at a $9 million campaign.”
Johnson said the sale of the park would generate roughly $500,000. Dorothy Dent, an I.V. resident, said the sale of the park would only generate a fraction of the amount necessary for the community center project.
“The sale will finance destruction of beautiful parks and open space,” Dent said. “Public comment requests public space preservation and park lands for the use of both homeless and residents.”
IVRPD Vice Chairman Bryan Brown said he was concerned about selling the park because it is the only park on Pardall.
“It’s nice to see something there. I think it could be put to better use,” Brown said.
Johnson said the board had been unable to find a program for Pardall Gardens, which is currently used mostly by transient residents.
IVRPD board member Diane Conn said selling the park was the only option to raise money for the community center project. Johnson said the park is a lucrative spot for future development of the community.
“The I.V. Master Plan identified Pardall Gardens as the number one site for affordable housing,” Johnson said.
I.V. resident and General Plan Advisory Committee (GPAC) member Craig Geyer said he was not aware of the potential for affordable housing on that site.
“The people are not in favor of selling off parks, and that wasn’t the intention,” Geyer said. “Even if you sold that park, there’s no assurance that there would be low-income housing built there.”
After further discussion, the board agreed that sale of the park would not contribute enough to the community center project. The board voted unanimously not to sell Pardall Gardens.
Another issue discussed was a potential plan for the Perfect Park parking lot, located at the junction of Embarcadero del Norte and Trigo Road. Property owner and pastor Jon Stephen Hedges of St. Athanasius Orthodox Church said he plans to rent out spaces in this parking lot to local residents for use during the day.
“A lot of folks would like to secure a space. You go out there in the middle of the day and it’s just bloody chaos,” Hedges said. “I’m surprised there haven’t been some fights out there. It needs to be managed.”
Hedges said he plans to offer the spaces for a monthly fee to local business employees and students.
“The appetite I’ve had from businesses and students is, ‘Look, I want a space,'” Hedges said. “Our management of the place is based on $38 per space per month. Sunday mornings will be excluded.”
Other issues discussed at the meeting included a new brochure, a possible reallocation of the IVRPD’s funds, reports on park landscaping progress and new programs within the Isla Vista Foot Patrol.
The meeting concluded with a rotation of district officers. Former Vice Chairman Bryan Brown was appointed the new chair and board member Logan Green was appointed vice chairman. Board member Fernando Ramirez and Brown were appointed to the Finance Committee. Former Chairman Harley Augustino resigned from the Finance Committee. Board members Green and Conn were appointed to the Personnel Committee.