Eastside Neighborhood Park Reopens with New Amenities as Improvement Project Continues

The new 5-12 playground at Eastside Neighborhood Park

While two new playgrounds, adult fitness stations, and accessible paths are ready for use, various improvements are still underway.

The City of Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Department has reopened Eastside Neighborhood Park after the completion of several park improvements. The multi-phase project aims to expand recreational opportunities while creating a safe, attractive gathering space for the neighborhood. The park now boasts two new playgrounds, adult fitness equipment, and accessible paths to connect park features.

One of the most notable improvements is the installation of the City’s first obstacle course playground designed to create play and fitness opportunities for older children. The playground, intended for ages 5-12, includes vertical and lateral climbing activities, obstacles to promote balance and flexibility, and other features to improve strength, agility, and coordination.

The Parks and Recreation Department also installed a new playground for children ages 2-5, including the City’s first public nest swing that allows parents and children to swing together. Various fitness equipment was added throughout the park, including parallel bars and stations for sit-ups, dips, chin-ups, push-ups, squats, and more for a free full-body workout.

“Community collaboration has played a critical role in this project,” said City Parks and Recreation Director, Jill Zachary. “This park is an important family gathering space for the neighborhood, and the public’s participation in workshops and meetings allowed us to reimagine this space to better serve Eastside residents.”

The new 2-5 playground at Eastside Neighborhood park, with fencing for turf renovation in background

Though some of the most anticipated elements of the project are complete, improvements are expected to continue through the new year. Portions of the park will remain temporarily fenced for a turf renovation to create grassy areas for the community to enjoy.

Improvements to Yanonali Garden, the community garden within Eastside Neighborhood Park, are also underway, with staff working closely with current gardeners to make updates. To date, the garden has received new fencing, a new loading area with a ramp, and a new picnic area for gatherings and presentations. Upcoming improvements include creating a communal herb garden to free up space in rented plots, planting new citrus trees, and improving pathways throughout the garden.

The project is partially funded by a $350,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). These grants, issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, provide federal funding for projects that aim to improve the quality of life for neighborhoods with low and moderate incomes, as identified by U.S. Census data. The remaining $450,000 of the project is funded by the City’s general fund.

The Parks and Recreation Department hopes to host a ribbon-cutting community event when all park improvements are complete in 2024.

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    • This is the sad truth. Parents will avoid parks in certain neighborhoods because of sketchy people or possible criminal activity. There’s a park in my neighborhood that I avoid because of this. I wish the city/county would provide more funding to schools to open their playgrounds to the public with a yard duty on site. Close it up at dusk and reopen in the morning.

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