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Evac Shelter Available at Girsh Park

Amenities Being Brought in to Accommodate Refugees


Friday, May 8, 2009

In response to large groups of evacuees moving out from the western Goleta area and needing somewhere to stay, management of Camino Real Marketplace and Girsh Park are designating areas to accommodate people. According to Mark Ingalls, property manager of the marketplace, parking lots for Girsh Park are now being set up for vehicles to park and wait out the fire. He also said he was working with Girsh to bring in amenities to make the area more suitable such as portable toilets and means of providing shade.

The area is behind Costco. Those looking for it need only to turn onto Storke Road, drive toward the ocean past the marketplace itself and look for signs. Ryan Harrington, executive director for the Foundation for Girsh Park, said that people can camp on the grassy area itself, if they chose. They are encouraged to set up tents there. Harrington also estimated that the parking lot would normally be able to fit 150-200 cars, though he noted that the capacity might be affected by possible larger-than-usual vehicles coming to stay.

Evacuee Janet Vanrenterghem said she would be trying to move into this area, after trying to find a shady spot in the marketplace parking lot itself. She said shade was a priority because she had animals in her car. She expressed some frustration at the fact that she had been asked to leave the marketplace parking lot itself, which already offered some shade. Vanrenterghem explained that a security guard told her that she could not park her car in front of the now-vacant Linens 'n Things and. She could not understand why she shouldn't be allowed to stay there. Also, she said shade structures had not yet been installed in the designated parking area.

Ingalls also said that an emergency information kiosk will be set up in the marketplace, similar to one that was installed during the Gap Fire.

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