Isla Vista Receives Grant for Children's Park Renovation

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Source: IVRPD

On December 8th, 2021, California State Parks awarded $548.3 million in grant funding to more than 100 communities to advance Governor Newsom’s “Outdoors for All” initiative to enable all Californians, regardless of zip code or income, to access parks and open space.

Isla Vista Recreation and Park District (IVRPD) is thrilled to announce that it has been awarded 4.2 million dollars in grant funding to complete the Children’s Park Renovation Project.

“California State Parks is incredibly proud to announce grant funding for projects that will improve access to parks and open space and contribute to a better quality of life for so many Californians,” said California State Parks Director Armando Quintero. “Many of these projects will become a source of community pride, thanks to neighborhood residents, local park agencies and non-profit organizations who worked together to design vibrant parks reflecting each community’s unique needs and creativity.”

Isla Vista Recreation and Park District was among 112 finalists selected from a pool of 468 California agencies that applied to the competitive Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Grant Program (SPP). Today’s awards are funded by the $153 million approved by the Legislature in the 2021-22 state budget and $395.3 million from the California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access for All Act of 2018 (Proposition 68). To date, the Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Grant Program has provided $1.16 billion to California’s communities in four rounds, including $368 million in grant funding from Proposition 84 (2006 Bond Act) Sustainable Communities and Climate Change Reduction Program. This grant represents the single-largest investment in California state history in expanding access to parks in underserved communities, like Isla Vista.

“As an advocate for parks, trails, and open-space, I am beyond thrilled that this funding has been awarded to IVRPD on behalf of the residents of Isla Vista,” said Third District Supervisor Joan Hartmann. Adding, “I have seen the plan for the park, and so much of it came from the community, especially the Latinx families who live in IV. It makes people feel like government is responsive to their needs and that safe, clean, and culturally relevant park and open-spaces are fundamental to people’s health, well-being, and sense of belonging.”

“This is a tremendous honor for our District and for the people of Isla Vista,” said IVRPD General Manager Kimberly Kiefer. “We extend our sincere and heartfelt thanks to all of the community members who participated in the planning meetings. The driving force behind winning this incredible grant was the community, this marks a new chapter for the often- overlooked long term residents and students who call Children’s Park an extension of their backyard.”

IVRPD selected Children’s Park based on the grant criteria to improve the health and quality of life for intergenerational families living in in Isla Vista whom for years have not been fully represented in community planning processes as such. Between October 2020 - March 2021, 5 community planning meetings, offered in both English and Spanish, were hosted in-person and via Zoom. IVRPD gathered feedback on park amenities, design features, and themes. IVRPD, through an 

RFP process, awarded and further partnered with Pacific Coast Land Design (PCLD) to develop a concept-level site plan for the grant application. A final conceptual site plan based on community input was presented to the Isla Vista Recreation & Park District Board of Directors for approval on March 4th, 2021.

IVRPD will start in winter another round of community outreach and project planning phase for the duration of 2022, while targeting Spring 2023 for an official groundbreaking day to start construction.

Improvements include two nature-themed playgrounds, ADA-accessible pathways, an amphitheater for workshops and performances, a new standalone restroom, an educational demonstration garden, a renovated recreation building for expanding workshop programs and services for students and youth alike. The project will be completed and a ribbon cutting ceremony for the grand opening will take place by winter 2023/2024.

IVRPD wants to extend special thanks to partners in this grant including, St. George Youth and Teen Center and People’s Self-Help Housing for their community engagement efforts, Sansum Diabetes Research Institute for their future stewardship of the educational demonstration garden, Pacific Coast Land Design for their design and community meeting expertise, and the people of Isla Vista who helped make this project possible. IVRPD also extends a sincere thank you to Santa Barbara County Transportation and Real Property, and the Third District Supervisor’s Office, Joan Hartmann, and Gina Fischer.

IVRPD will be hosting a celebration to mark this historic victory for the people on Saturday January 29, 2022, where the community can all rejoice in this moment together.

Key Facts

  • $2.42 billion in requests - 468 project applications

  • $548.3 million in grants - 112 grant projects

  • 50 new parks

  • 62 expansion/renovations of existing parks

  • 4th and Final Round of SPP Grant

  • Competitive Grant Application Process: April 2020 - March 2021

  • 5 Community Planning Meetings: October 2020 - March 2021

  • Final Concept Design Plan approved by Isla Vista Board of Directors March 4th, 2021

  • Grant application submitted on March 12th, 2021

  • Awards Announced December 8th, 2021: see full list of award recipients at www.parks.ca.gov/spp

  • $4,205,653 million dollars awarded to IVRPD for Children’s Park Renovation Project

  • Jan - Dec. 2022: Project Planning Phase

  • Spring 2023: Construction Begins

  • Winter 2023: Grand Opening

  • Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Program Information: https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=29939

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Byzantium Dec 14, 2021 08:30 AM
Isla Vista Receives Grant for Children's Park Renovation

There are the have nots, the can nots and the will nots. Each of these three general descriptors creates different impacts and different remediations. Have nots work within our current social safety welfare system- both public and private; can nots need to become part of a state institutional care system again; and the will nots need to move on or else be subject to the exact same laws and punishments the rest of us are required to face when choosing to live within the confines of a lawful and orderly community,

Henry Sarria Dec 14, 2021 05:06 AM
Isla Vista Receives Grant for Children's Park Renovation

Alright, a little long time local input here, sorry in advance if this is a long response. Let me start w/ saying that this grant is a great thing. IVRPD & PLD (Pacific Land Designs) went through a lot to garner it & they deserve tons of respect for this awesome achievement.

Children's Park was falling by the wayside for a while & was in dire need of change, maintenance, repair & redesign for community reasons, lots of families w/ kids on that end of town.
It's been a long time coming & it was intended to be on the slate, but then the encampment issues began & the IVRPD $$$ went to address that matter. This put a HUGE financial burden on the IVRPD, as it's a parks & recreation agency, not a social services agency.

Once that situation was mitigated (& done so in a way that was positive & respectful, even got noticed by state & federal agencies), it was time to get back to being a parks & recreation entity & Children's Park was a top priority.

It's a huge grant, but the cost of materials is up & w/ any $$$ left over, as well as other grants & such, repairs & revitalization of other parks such as Pardall Gardens, Greek Park & the Sueno Bark Park can also get some great & long overdue improvements.

Now I gotta touch on the aftermath of the encampments that were in People's Park. The damage & pollution to that land was gnarly. It's still undergoing repair & remediation & this is gonna go on for a while, for safety & health purposes.
Some of the drawbacks affecting IVRPD is the loss of some of its staff & they're trying to replace those individuals, but in all, they're pluggin' away as best as they can.

As for the "vagrants, druggies & drunks" & keepin' them out, well, you gotta be more specific than that. Developing a working relationship w/ the IV Foot Patrol, run by the SBSO, is a good 1st step.
Another good thing is IVRPD now actually has an official park ranger whose job is to identify & handle issues involving "problematic individuals" & these ain't necessarily from the homeless community, they could be anyone.

We got our homeless dudes like Clyde, he's a cool guy. I bring him bags of waterfowl feed so he can feed the ducks, something he loves to do. He never causes problems & is a welcome member of our community. He's just 1 of the homeless community members that use the parks to enjoy their day w/ no hassles.
During the encampment era Clyde & other locals were lumped in w/ those causing problems, but anyone w/ a history in the area could see who was causin' issues & like I said above, that's been mitigated.

Now it's onward & upward. IVRPD in conjunction w/ Green Lantern Theatre had the Friday Night Movies In The Park series which was a total success. They also had the Music In The Park concert series which again, was a huge success.
UCSB Intramurals Dept. has also been having these "pop up" events such as birding, rock climbing, cornhole & a 3 on 3 basketball tournament & these have been a huge success.
There's also the upcoming improvements on the disc golf course & the pump track in the Estero Park, both long overdue, but pending, given the personnel, volunteers (such as myself) & the weather.
But back to Children's Park & Luvaduck's question, those things mentioned ain't gonna be an issue, people aren't wiling to put up w/ sketchy elements & this was evident during the recent Lights, Love & Community event a couple of weekends ago in Estero Park.

It was awesome to see many members of our community there & from the faces & words by many of our family community in IV, I don't think there'll be any issues & if there are, they will be handled professionally & effectively.

Rypert Johnson Dec 13, 2021 12:39 PM
Isla Vista Receives Grant for Children's Park Renovation

8:10 PM, it's not shocking to see that you've never understood my position. It has never been attacking homeless in any way. You are obviously confusing "homeless" with the "houseless neighbors" the pro-crime and squalor cults promote and pander to.
Herein lies the problem, mixing those two demographics up, a common fallacy exhibited by folks such as you.
Isla Vista has always had their local homeless folks and the community has had no issues with any of them, they have always been welcome and in many ways cared for. They are a welcome segment of the community and will always have a home and a part in our community.
The demographic our community has had an issue with is the "houseless neighbor" group that invaded Isla Vista's parks from March 2020 through June 2021.
These weren't the run of the mill "homeless" folks, these were the junkies and tweakers living in creeks and such that heard the pickings were good in Isla Vista and decided to give it a go.
They were also the demographic that harassed, threatened, intimidated, assaulted and attacked many of our local homeless folks.
Did you hear about the one homeless man who "refused to pay his rent" to the newly arrived invaders camping in the park who was then beat so severely that he crawled back to his tent, self medicated with fentanyl, od'd and died? By the way, he was a friend.
Obviously you didn't, otherwise you would know there is a stark difference between the homeless folks and the invading "houseless neighbors" that usurped the park in Isla Vista.
But the problem doesn't stop at the "houseless neighbors" only. A bigger part of the problem is the cults that wanted to keep the "houseless neighbor" encampment in the park PERMANENTLY.
They wanted to use them for political purposes to promote an extremist agenda that has no place in a normal law abiding society. What is worse is those leading these cults, they wanted to affect Isla Vista's community, but none of them live in Isla Vista.
I have gone on and on about who the real culprits are, but you have obviously chosen to take my words and twist them to suit your narrative against me. It's all good, it's within your rights to be wrong, which you are.
But now to Isla Vista. Yes, this grant is a great thing and while it is large, so are the costs associated with making the plans happen. There's also plans to improve some of the other parks in the area of Pardall, Sueno and Segovia.
In all Isla Vista is coming back around to being the fun, friendly, safe and wonderful community I grew up in as a kid.
A big part of that change back to normal is the parks are becoming a staple of the community for all in the community, the "houseless neighbors" have been removed and the cults who support them to promote their twisted political agenda have been put in check.
The war is not over, but the community is improving and our homeless residents are now getting the attention, care and love they were stripped of during the invasion by the "houseless neighbors" that usurped the park.

Rypert Johnson Dec 12, 2021 12:16 AM
Isla Vista Receives Grant for Children's Park Renovation

LUVADUCK, those elements are gone for the most part. The few "homeless" that remain usually keep to Anisq'Oyo Park and they are the harmless types, just want to sit in the park and while the time away. They were also the homeless who were harassed, threatened and abused by the elements you mention.
They are not the hostile and dangerous junkies and tweakers that invaded that park last year, they are gone now and the parks are being returned to the actual community, not the "protected species" backed by a bunch of cults.
Besides, Children's Park is on the west part of Isla Vista, away from booze retailers and all the other trappings of that lifestyle. It is a residential neighborhood and the residents will not put up with that crap, they will immediately call the cops, something the pro-"houseless neighbor" cults hate.

a-1639368657 Dec 12, 2021 08:10 PM
Isla Vista Receives Grant for Children's Park Renovation

This is bizarre, to see Mr. Johnson not attacking homeless people! It is a first. I'm shocked.

I was also a little shocked at such a large grant, but the plans for the park are huge and wonderful; it's not just a "park." Congratulations, IV.

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