Santa Barbara County officials, community service members, and park department personnel unveiled a new split-rail wood fence near the top of an Isla Vista bluff at Walter Capps Park Thursday evening, hoping it will help prevent more of the falls that have plagued the seaside college town for years.
The 390-foot fence was officially revealed to the public in a ribbon-cutting ceremony on 6731 Del Playa Drive, but not before a meeting between Rhandy Siordia of UCSB Associated Students and Lieutenant Ray Vuillemainroy with I.V. Foot Patrol reinvigorated what they discovered was an already existing — but stalled — plan to fence the park. The pair joined forces with 3rd District Supervisor Doreen Farr, and upon further investigation into funding and permitting, the collaborators discovered that a previous plan to fence the park had been put in place but not pursued.
The fence, which was the last cliff barrier on Isla Vista public land to be installed, was “a long time coming,” according to Farr on Thursday. The group obtained private funding as well as donations from UCSB Associated Students, collaborating with Rodney Gould from the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District and Santa Barbara County Parks. Within just a few days, a contractor completed the long-awaited project.
Throughout the ceremony, the various contributors of the fence’s installation underscored the importance of having worked with each other. “I think this is another wonderful example of how when everybody works together with a common goal and purpose, and we can really get momentum going behind a project, that can make it happen, and we can make it happen very quickly,” explained Farr.
The Isla Vista park is named in honor of Walter Capps, a former UCSB Religious Studies professor, congressmember, and late husband of Representative Lois Capps. While Capps had obligations that prevented her from attending the event, she was represented by her daughter Laura and son Todd.