The future of Pardall Gardens, the public park located next to Kung Pao Kitchen on Pardall Road, will be discussed by Isla Vista Recreation and Park District (IVRPD) directors at today’s 6 p.m. meeting.
In order to help fund the construction of an Isla Vista Community Center, the IVRPD is considering selling the patch of land. IVRPD director Bryan Brown said the Orfalea Foundation, a local philanthropic organization, has decided against helping to fund the community center project. Now seeking alternate funding sources, Brown said IVRPD would consider selling Pardall Gardens because local residents would miss it less than other parks.
“It’s a very rarely utilized park,” Brown said. “We’re hoping to discuss whether selling it would be in the best interest of funding the community center.”
If the board decides that losing the park space would be worth the income selling the park would generate, the issue would go on a ballot in the next upcoming election. Santa Barbara County residents would get to decide whether the park would be sold. Logan Green, IVRPD co-chair, said the board would only sell open space as a last resort.
“If anything, we’re interested in acquiring more park space,” Green said.
With reduced funding, the IVRPD board has modified plans for the community center. The current plans will include a YMCA center, skateboard park, soccer field, basketball court, multipurpose room, but not a children’s center or senior citizen center. This modified plan will cost between $4 and $5 million, instead of $13 million, the cost of the original plan.
Today’s meeting will also feature discussion about alleged violations of IVRPD policy by board member Diane Conn. Local business owner Craig Geyer filed a formal grievance against Conn in January, claiming that she violated seven district codes. For example, the district policy manual states that district board members should be responsive or attentive during discussions and should “[emphasize] the positive [by] avoiding double talk, hidden agendas, gossip, backbiting and other negative forms of interaction.”
“There’s been some issue raised regarding [Conn’s] candor at meetings, quotes in the Nexus and things like that,” Brown said. “We can’t vote her off the board. That would require a recall. We can either decide to do nothing [about the claim] or censure her somehow.”
Brown said a censure would be an extreme penalty. Before the board decides anything about Geyer’s claim, it would first have to decide whether the claim was valid, Brown said.
“We’d have to discuss it before anything would be done,” Brown said.
Conn said she was unable to comment on the matter.
The meeting will be held tonight at the IVRPD district office at 961 Embarcadero del Mar.