Focusing on proposed changes to Anisq’Oyo’ Park, Isla Vista Recreation and Park District members discussed the construction of a new amphitheater and larger pond during their meeting yesterday.

The Anisq’Oyo’ Park Master Plan, which board members placed under the care of the ROMA Design Group, is currently still in its planning phase. The proposed project includes the creation of a large amphitheatre in the park’s lower-middle half. Further changes include widening the park’s pond and removing much of the grade in Anisq’Oyo’ from one edge of the park to the other in order to increase visibility.

ROMA representative Bonnie Fisher said the changes to the park will foster a sense of community and make Anisq’Oyo’ have a more cohesive atmosphere.

“We are really trying to create an integrated park where community members can come together,” Fisher said. “There is a desire to keep an openness in the park.”

Board members were split over the decision of whether to proceed further with the changes. IVRPD board director Diane Conn said she believes I.V. is in need of a larger area to host events. She said the number of people that attend functions such as the annual Chilla Vista festival, which includes live music and programs concerning conservation efforts, continues to grow every year.

“The Chilla Vista event is not that great logistically,” Conn said. “What we really need is a bigger amphitheatre.”

IVRPD member Kelly Pritchard said she objects to the plan because of its possible effects to the community. She said the plan could deprive the community of a location to host events for 10 years due to a four-phase construction process. She said ROMA currently offers no solution to this possible situation.

Pritchard also said the park, in its current state, is an essential part of the community that has functioned successfully for thirty-five years.

“It’s very dear to us,” Pritchard said. “It’s our free speech area and it’s the heart of our town.”

In reference to Pritchard’s comments, Fisher said the park is nothing without community involvement.

“It has to come from the community and feeling like it comes from all of you to be a success,” Fisher said.

I.V. resident Christopher Hammond said he was concerned about how the construction might affect the wildlife in the park.

“I would like to see a plan that deals with keeping the existing wildlife,” Hammond said.

Other topics discussed at last night’s meeting included the approval of a co-sponsored “Soul to Sunrise” Thanksgiving celebration in the park and a “Wildlife for the Community” event.