Community leaders and residents discussed changes to the constantly evolving Isla Vista Community Center plan last night that slate completion of the facility for 2010.
The Isla Vista Project Area Committee and General Plan Advisory Committee (PAC/GPAC) met at the University Religious Center to discuss the status of the community center, which will eventually be built in Estero Park. Steve Johnson – a member of the D.A. Johnson consultant team, which is working on the project – presented an updated plan for the construction of the facility. The PAC/GPAC members recommended that the county approve the proposed changes to the plan and discussed the lack of available funding for the project.
The new plan divides the project into four phases: planning, construction on the community center, construction on the teen center and skate park, and the creation of an I.V. Community Library. Johnson said the first three phases will be completed between January 2008 and November 2010 and will cost approximately $13 million. Details of the fourth phase are still in progress.
The revised plan allots less space to the community center facilities and more space for the construction of a 17,000 square-foot skate park. The community center will also include a soccer field and a “multi-purpose plaza,” as described in the original master plan.
Johnson told the committee he planned the construction process to allow the community to continue using the western portion of Estero Park during construction. He said the actual design of the buildings is also intended to compliment the existing open space.
“It is very important that we maintain the open space,” Johnson said. “The buildings should behave as active participants in the open space.”
PAC/GPAC member Joel Rodriguez-Flores, a representative of the I.V. Tenants Union, said there currently is not enough money to fund the project.
“The only problem keeping this project from moving forward is that there isn’t funding for it,” Rodriguez-Flores said.
Santa Barbara County currently has $1.3 million to finance the project. Redevelopment Agency Project Manager Jamie Goldstein said the county is looking for more money from various external sources, including fundraisers and donations.
PAC/GPAC member Bryan Brown, a representative of the I.V. Student Housing Co-Op, said he thinks the community center will be a momentous project for the area.
“It is the most important project to come through I.V., ever,” Brown said. “It is a significant project for a community like Isla Vista.”
A.S. External Vice President of Local Affairs Kelly Burns said she thinks the revised plans will incorporate local residents’ needs better than past versions of the plan.
“I think that [Johnson] has really taken community needs into account,” Burns said.