The Isla Vista Recreation and Park District (IVRPD) voted to fund two major projects at its Thursday meeting, giving the green light to an $800,000 skate park and the $28,000 restoration of a vernal pool on Del Playa Drive.
Board members unanimously agreed to allocate $317,814 toward the construction of a skate park at Estero Park and passed a plan to restore a district-owned vernal pool at Camino Lindo and Del Playa at the 6 p.m. meeting, which was held at the IVRPD office. Board members also approved a revised pricing policy for district park rentals and pledged to give the I.V. Teen Center a portion of an annual donation the IVRPD receives from UCSB.
IVRPD General Manager Derek Johnson said the skate park is the first phase in the IVRPD’s plans to build a new community center in Estero Park and a logical improvement to Isla Vista. The $800,000 total cost for the skate park will now be partially covered by funds the district received from Propositions 12 and 40, Johnson said.
“The biggest project the district has ever undertaken is clearly the community center,” Johnson said. “If there’s any community in the county where it makes sense to have a skate park, it is Isla Vista.”
According to the meeting’s agenda, the IVRPD will not be able to estimate when the park will be finished until the fundraising phase is complete, but Johnson said the project is off to a good start.
“The timing just seems right,” Johnson said. “We have Mike Taylor, one of the best skateboard park designers in the world, saying he is going to do this for free.”
According to the meeting’s agenda, the IVRPD’s plan to restore a vernal pool on the 6800 block of Del Playa will allocate $28,270 to restore the pools to their natural state, replant indigenous plants in the area and erect signs and barriers to protect the land.
IVRPD project biologist David Hubbard said the restoration plan is important to protect the vernal pool, but will not stop people from enjoying it.
“I am interested in enhancing the habitats,” Hubbard said. “Rather than doing any sort of fencing, we’d like to focus public use of the site by making the paths more appealing, as well as putting up three signs to let people know this is not just a vacant lot.”
The IVRPD also allocated $6,500 of a $13,000 donation it received from UCSB towards the I.V. Teen Center and kept the other half to help fund district recreation programs.
Johnson said the donation comes every year in lieu of property taxes and is generally directed toward the teen center.
“Thirteen thousand dollars is about what the university would pay in property taxes on the units they own in Isla Vista,” Johnson said.
IVRPD director Bryan Brown said he feels that although the teen center is not an IVRPD program, it is still something the IVRPD is financially responsible for.
“I think the teen center provides a service that we, quite frankly, can’t right now,” Brown said. “My personal feeling is we more or less asked them to come into the community to provide a service they have to pay for.”
However, IVRPD director Dianne Conn said she would like to take the IVRPD’s current financial situation into account before giving out money without knowing how it is spent.
“I basically support the goals of the teen center, but I feel like we’re just supposed to hand it over and there’s no accountability,” Conn said. “I would prefer to see more of it go to our recreation program, especially considering the year we’ve had.”
At the meeting, the IVRPD also passed a reworked set of prices for park rentals. The revised rental policy takes effect July 1, 2005, and calls for rental fees in Anisq’ Oyo’ Park to be cut in half for I.V. residents, UCSB students and nonprofit groups, requiring them to pay $50 for small events and $100 for events with over 300 attendees. Nonresidents have to pay $120 to host small events and $240 for large events.
Johnson said the revisions were made because the board had spent too much time arguing over fee waivers.
“The board has struggled over the years with fee waivers,” Johnson said. “What is being proposed tonight is a discontinuation of all fee waivers and a whole new fee schedule.”