A Parking Lot Is a Parking Lot

It seems the residents of the City of Santa Barbara find themselves obliged to take sides in a contest pitting against each other two long-established and popular entities: Spencer Adams Park (aka Louis Lowry Davis Center) and the Farmers Market.

A glance at the history of the park might be helpful.

City Ordinance #2534 (dated 1936 or 1937) states that “said land has been used openly and continuously for public park and recreation purposes for approximately 18 years [known as the Senior Citizens Recreation Center]. … The City of Santa Barbara is willing and desirous that said lands shall continue to be used for public park and recreation purposes for an indefinite period.” Spencer Adams was a philanthropist who financed the construction of the clubhouse for the existing lawn bowling club in 1956, with the condition imposed on the City of Santa Barbara that the land upon which the clubhouse sat “shall be designated and known as Spencer Adams Park.”

It is widely accepted that city parks are vital publicly owned open spaces that benefit the health and well-being of the residents. It would seem that it is much more difficult and costly to replace a park than to move the market to a new nearby and equally suitable venue, such as parking lot 11 or another city lot, or even the parking lot of Spencer Adams Park itself. It would cost over half a million dollars to replace the two bowling greens, let alone to acquire land and build a new clubhouse, whereas there would be negligible cost involved in moving the location of the Farmers Market.

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