At its board meeting Thursday night, the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District (IVRPD) discussed plans for the Estero Park community center and other park improvements it could make if “a plane flew overhead and dropped a bag of money.”
The board discussed the latest proposal for the placement of the community center after receiving sketches from the architecture firm hired for the project, Michael Dennis & Associates (MDA) Johnson Favaro, and a geological survey of the park. The architects provided two options, both of which placed the community center in the southeastern part of the park.
IVRPD General Manager Derek Johnson discussed the new plans and explained county regulations regarding the circle of setbacks around each tree. Setbacks are areas surrounding trees where construction is not permitted.
“We’ve done away with the southern and western options,” Johnson said. “We wanted to make sure that there was access for people from the east side of Isla Vista relative to the park. We now have a geological survey in hand and know the exact location of the oak trees. The county requires setbacks where development doesn’t encroach on them.”
The board also discussed the possibility of a library in the community center, but expects various funding and planning complications.
“The way that library funding works is that there are service areas. We’re in the Goleta service area, which gets $5.85 per person, which means $400,000 in funding which currently goes to the Goleta Library,” Johnson said. “The only way that we could operate a library here would be to suck money away from the Goleta Library.”
Johnson also pointed out that the current designs for the community center do not contain a library. If the library were approved, the firm would have to redesign the entire center.
“This would be very challenging; we’re in the bottom of the ninth in terms of planning. Integrating a library into the design would put the brakes on the development,” Johnson said.
Two Frisbee golfers attended the meeting to ask for the preservation of the Estero Park Frisbee golf course.
“We strongly urge you guys to consider relocating the Frisbee golf course or to redesign the park with as many holes as possible,” sophomore chemical engineering major Vincent Kispersky said.
The board made several suggestions as to how the Frisbee golfers can make their voices heard. Chair Bryan Brown said Kispersky should go to more public forums and board member Diane Conn said he should start a petition and gain support from other Frisbee golfers in the area.
The board also discussed a wish list of projects and improvements they would like to implement in all the parks. Brown said the goals would happen if “a plane flew overhead and dropped a bag of money.”
Among the possible undertakings are netting to protect private homes from Frisbees – and the Frisbee golfers who retrieve them – at Estero Park and a rock wall at Trigo-Pasado Park.
“I want adult playground equipment. I want to put a rock-climbing wall up. It’s called a bouldering wall and is 10 feet high,” Johnson said.
The board also wanted to install more lighting at Children’s Park, but felt that any lighting would be subject to vandalism.
“We’ve given up on lighting the gazebo,” Johnson said. “The people have spoken loud and clear with their baseball bats.”
However, since the board is not anticipating any additional funds, Brown said they will work up a budget and work plan during the next meeting and schedule certain projects over the next three years.