Credit: Teague Pinder

Isla Vista’s Children’s Park was awarded $4.2 million from the California State Parks Department, as part of a state-wide program to promote access to outdoor spaces and parks in underserved areas. Isla Vista was one of 112 finalists in the state to receive a grant, which will go toward completing a full renovation of the park, located at the corner of Camino del Sur and Picasso Road. 

The grant was awarded on January 24, 2022, and I.V. Parks and Recreation held a block party on February 26 to celebrate and inform the community. Guest speakers included Representative Salud Carbajal, California State Senator Monique Limón, California State Parks Director Armando Quintero, Chair of Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors and 3rd District Supervisor Joan Hartmann, and 2nd District Supervisor Gregg Hart. 

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Quintero, who oversees all parks in the state of California, said Children’s Park is a prime example of what grants like this are trying to uplift. “This is a park that is heavily used by the Latino community and a lot of kids,” he said. “It’s exactly what these funds are for, to create new parks for underserved communities where they don’t have parks, but also for parks that need revitalization for communities like this.” 

I.V. Parks and Recreation held five community planning meetings between October 2020 and March 2021, and the final application was submitted in March 2021. The project is still in its planning phase, and construction is expected to begin in spring 2023. Future park renovations include the installation of two nature-themed playgrounds, a standalone restroom, ADA-accessible pathways, an amphitheater, an educational demonstration garden, and a renovated recreational building. 

“It is awesome to be able to have this type of treasure, an open space and a park in one of the densest areas in the county,” said Carbajal, who also spoke personally about being a young parent attending nearby UC Santa Barbara and the desire to see more areas like Children’s Park be developed. “I know that families and students alike are going to be able to appreciate and enjoy this area.”

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