Isla Vista stakeholders met Tuesday to discuss community facilities, continuing their discussion of the implications of I.V. becoming a community services district (CSD).
If I.V. were a CSD, it would have the power to construct, operate, maintain and manage community facilities. The discussion focused on the CSD’s role in the creation of a new Isla Vista community center. The stakeholders plan to incorporate the Isla Vista Medical Clinic building and the building formerly belonging to St. Athanasius Orthodox Church, located next to Embarcadero Hall in I.V., as parts of the community center.
Stakeholders anticipate that if I.V. does become a CSD, it will have relations with Friends of the I.V. Community Center (IVCC), which holds events to reach out to the community and allows Isla Vista residents to meet and create their own events as well.
Stakeholders hope that a new community center will be much larger than the current center, and said they hope to reach out to local businesses to collaborate on community center activities. The space would incorporate arts and culture, health and wellness and a place for private events.
Renee Bahl, Santa Barbara County assistant county executive officer, said the clinic building will not be used until construction is completed.
“We are working with the ad hoc committee to determine what funding is available and how that will be designed. If the fundraising efforts are successful, of course, all these things we are talking about — community kitchen, a stage and whatever brought forward — can be included.”
Any additional funds from the county will be used to complete basic structural work and engineering, Bahl said.
According to Bahl, the Isla Vista Clinic building is under deed restrictions, limiting it to use by governmental entities or nonprofits. Bahl expects the community center to be completed by 2017, and it will have to abide by not-for-profit deed rules until they expire in 2018.
Many attendees at the meeting said the center should be a place where I.V. residents can seek information about events and housing.
Lanny Ebenstein, UCSB professor of economics, stressed the importance of involving a large number of I.V. residents in decisions relating to the potential CSD.
“The primary discussion has been how to involve the community in the greatest possible way in the decision-making process,” Ebenstein said. “I think that’s one of the real keys behind some of the outreach events.”
Lebenstein posed the question of the building’s collaboration with the former church building and said, “It’s very important for the community to advocate [that] those two come together in the earliest time; this building and the next door building can work as one.”
Discussing the community center’s administration, Jonathan Abboud, a UCSB alumnus and Santa Barbara City College trustee, said he wants to keep the management local through the I.V. CSD.
“The CSD could give even more money to the community center,” Abboud said. “No other group has the capacity, so I think the I.V. CSD is best. It is public and will allow everyone to have an overlook.”
The new community center for I.V. is highly anticipated, and locals involved with its creation hope the building will be a central facet for the neighborhood.