A silver lining to a burned-down Dos Pueblos Little League (DPLL) equipment shed at Girsh Park in Goleta came in the form of community-based donations that totaled the $30,000 necessary to replace the shed and all equipment lost inside.
The shed, which was burned down in what is thought to be arson involved with some graffiti referencing “burning” at the park less than a week ago, was full of equipment used in the youth baseball league at Girsh Park: pitching machines, bases, and more general baseball equipment which totaled to a near $30,000 loss.
The city of Goleta announced a $5,000 grant to help replace the equipment, American Riviera Bank launched its own donation-matching campaign, more support flooded in from local businesses and those in the baseball community, and in less than four days, Dos Pueblos Little League announced Tuesday that it had raised the full amount needed to replace the shed and equipment.
“This is the Central Coast community at its finest,” said Jeff DeVine, President and Chief Executive Officer at American Riviera Bank. “We couldn’t be prouder of what we were able to accomplish in such a short time. DPLL has been serving our community for almost 50 years — our community showed up to express their appreciation this week.”
Girsh Park is not a city-owned facility, but it has been a central gathering place of the Goleta community since its inception in 1997. Nonprofit organization the Foundation for Girsh Park is in charge of the park, and Dos Pueblos Little League has played its games there — and stored its equipment in a shed at the park — ever since.
American Riviera Bank pledged $7,500 in matching funds, according to Vice President and Manager of Products and Marketing Rechelle Ringer, and the City of Goleta, Mark Linehan of Camino Real Marketplace, Daniel and Mandy Hochman, and city leaders Supervisor Joan Hartmann, Supervisor Gregg Hart, and Mayor Pro Tempore of Goleta James Kyriaco also made donations totaling $14,000 that brought them to the finish line.
“Our children and youth deserve every opportunity to recreate safely, enjoy sports, and create lasting memories. Participation in the Dos Pueblos Little League helps our youth build not only athletic ability but also socialization and relational skills that will last for a lifetime,” said Kyriaco.
The league is in the process of purchasing all items lost in the fire and is expected to be up and running by the start of its spring baseball season in March 2022.
City officials encourage anyone with information regarding the storage shed fire to contact the Santa Barbara County Fire Department by sending an email to FireInfo@SBCFire.com. Any tips related to the vandalism should be directed to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office at (805) 681-4150, anonymously at (805) 681-4171, or online at sbsheriff.org.