The Isla Vista Recreation and Park District held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Anisq’ Oyo’ Park yesterday in celebration of the bridge’s reopening.
The district shut down the walkway in 2009 after discovering a majority of the structure’s wood was rotting away and unofficially reopened the pedestrian path for public use last weekend. The Resources Bond Act Per Capita Program and Santa Barbara County South Coast West Quimby Trust Fund financed the structure and used reclaimed wood from local eucalyptus trees during construction.
IVRPD General Manager Jeff Lindgren said Anisq’ Oyo’ Park is important for the community because of its central location and event facilities.
“We really want to see this park return to be the heartbeat of the community,” Lindgren said. “It is just a physical improvement to have a bridge that lets people pass freely through the park.”
Lindgren said the project is part of IVRPD’s efforts to further integrate public open space into the local landscape.
“Our whole plan is to tie everything together,” Lindgren said. “When things start to break down, it is sad for the community.”
According to IVRPD Board Chair Bruce Murdock, the California Department of Fish and Game and the Army Core of Engineers required additional permits for work on the bridge because the park’s pond is classified as an Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area. Murdock said the process of acquiring proper authorization delayed the walkway’s reconstruction.
“None of the agencies have any sense of urgency,” Murdock said. “That is part of the reason it was closed for so long.”