Is De la Guerra Plaza haunted? Was Jimmy Hoffa’s body buried there in the dead of night? Should it become the new site for Santa Barbara’s farmer’s market? At least one of these questions — maybe even two — will be directly addressed at a special public meeting hosted by City Hall this Saturday between 2 and 3:30 in the afternoon. There will be plenty of opportunity to mill about, look at various plans, and unburden your heart to bureaucrats of the caring and uncaring kind.
Built in 1853 and named after the city’s first alcalde — what they had before mayors were incented — De la Guerra Plaza — has functioned as Santa Barbara’s civic living room for decades; it’s where people show up in large numbers to either celebrate or to demonstrate. In recent months, De la Guerra Plaza has been identified as a likely alternative location for the city’s long-fabled Saturday Farmers Market — forced to move, it appears, to make way for a new and improved police station. This has resurrected plans, now more than 10 years old and dead upon first arrival for a host of reasons, to re-imagine De la Guerra Plaza as a car-free public open space.
If you have two cents of spare change rattling around your brain, show up and share the wealth. If you stay home, don’t complain afterward. Organizers pledge the event will be held come rain or shine. Tents will be on hand. So, too, will be all kind of historic information provided courtesy of the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation as to what uses the space was put long before Pearl Chase started re-arranging Santa Barbara’s furniture or redefining what architects like to call the city’s “architectural vernacular.” Santa Barbara is too nice to leave it to the architects’ imaginations. Show up and weigh in.