Approximately 50 Isla Vista residents met in I.V. Theater Saturday to discuss plans for the proposed community center in Estero Park, located at the corner of Camino del Sur and Estero Road.

The meeting was hosted by the I.V. Recreation and Parks District and Management Domain Architect (MDA) Johnson, Favaro, the lead design firm of the project, to give residents a chance to express their opinions about the proposed location of the community center. The 4-acre center, which is scheduled for completion by spring 2006, would take up most of the six and three quarter acres of the existing park. At the meeting, Isla Vistans were asked to share how they feel about the existing features of Estero Park.

Derek Johnson, IVRPD general manager, said redevelopment agencies, grants, individual donors and federal and state funds would provide funding for Vista Square, the $11 million dollar community center. Johnson said Vista Square would include a soccer field, a skate park, basketball courts and a recreation center.

“The center is a tremendous opportunity for the community to fulfill a long-term dream to have a place and resource for positive community interaction,” Johnson said.

Community service organizations such as the I.V. Youth Projects (IVYP) and the I.V. Teen Center would be relocated to the new center.

“The new center will present an opportunity for the youth to come together by creating spaces where they can become more involved in the community and would allow intergenerational interaction,” IVYP recreation program coordinator Kristen Reed said.

Johnson said the community center would offer a daytime healthcare facility for the elderly, a teen center and child care services. The center would be staffed by members of various community service organizations such as One. Vista Square would also contain a kitchen, restroom facilities, classrooms and possibly a multipurpose room with a 200-person capacity that would be available to students and families in I.V.

UCSB Dean of Students Yonie Harris said the community center would provide students with a valuable place to study and hold social events.

“[The community center] would give flexible facilities for students. The multipurpose room would be a space for students to have dances, get-togethers and performances, and now the students don’t have that,” Harris said.

Jim Favaro, of MDA Johnson, Favaro, said the popular facilities of Estero Park such as the frisbee golf course, community gardens and playground would not be removed from the park, but may be relocated in order to accommodate the proposed community center.

“The community gardens are important to Estero Park because they give the people of I.V. a reason to go outside and interact with each other,” first-year political science major Bianca Whiten said.