Children’s Park Block Party Celebrates $4.2 Million Grant | Local News

Posted on February 26, 2022
| 2:07 p.m.

Credit: Nicholas A. Norman for Isla Vista Recreation & Park District

Isla Vista Recreation and Park District (IVRPD) will be hosting a free block party from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, February 26 at Children’s Park, 810 Camino Del Sur, Isla Vista, to celebrate the awarding of $4.2 million in grants from the State of California for a complete renovation of the children’s playground.

The event will feature live music, free food and games, as well as appearances by representative Salud Carbajal; State Senator Monique Limon; Armando Quintero, Director of California State Parks; Third District Supervisor Joan Hartmann and Second District Supervisor Gregg Hart.

The purpose of this event is to celebrate the people of Isla Vista who have helped make this scholarship possible.

“Children’s Park is the heart of Isla Vista’s multigenerational household community,” Hart said. “These park improvements will be a focus of treasured memories for friends and neighbors for years to come.”

“As an advocate for parks, trails and open spaces, I am thrilled to celebrate this grant with the IV community,” said Hartmann. “I’ve seen the park plan, and a lot of it comes from the community, especially the Latinx families who live in IV.

“This project is exciting for the health, well-being and sense of community of IV residents, and it will be great to celebrate the launch of the project together. This park will be a premier community park in our county. “

“Since 1995, Children’s Park has been the hub of IVRPD’s youth programming,” said Pegeen Soutar, Chair of the IVRPD Board of Directors. “As a board member for 18 years, I think it’s fantastic that children and families can enjoy their park more than ever before, and I’m honored to be part of this historic event.”

“This is a huge honor for our district and for the people of Isla Vista,” said IVRPD General Kimberly Kiefer. “We extend our sincere and heartfelt thanks to all community members who participated in the planning meetings.

“The driving force behind securing this incredible grant was the community, this marks a new chapter for often overlooked long-term residents and students who call Children’s Park an extension of their backyard.”

California State Parks on Dec. 8 awarded $548.3 million in grants to more than 100 communities to advance Governor Gavin Newsom’s Outdoors for All initiative to allow all Californians, regardless of zip code or their income, to access parks and open spaces.

IVRPD received $4.2 million in grants to complete the playground renovation project. IVRPD was among 112 finalists selected from a pool of 468 California agencies who applied to the competitive Parks Development and Community Revitalization (SPP Grant) grant program.

The SPP grant marks the largest investment in California history to expand park access in underserved communities like Isla Vista.

IVRPD selected Children’s Park based on grant criteria to improve the health and quality of life of intergenerational families living on Isla Vista who for years have not been fully represented in community planning processes in as such. From October 2020 to March 2021, five community planning meetings, offered in English and Spanish, were held.

IVRPD collected feedback on the park’s amenities, design features, and themes. IVRPD, through a Request for Proposals (RFP) process, awarded and partnered with Pacific Coast Land Design (PCLD) to develop a concept-level site plan for the grant application.

A final concept site plan based on community feedback was presented to the Isla Vista Recreation and Parks District Board of Directors for approval on March 4.

Upgrades include two nature-themed playgrounds, ADA-accessible trails, an amphitheater for workshops and performances, new self-contained restrooms, an educational demonstration garden, a renovated recreation building to expand workshop programs and services for students and youth.

The project will be completed and a groundbreaking ceremony will take place by winter 2023-24.

IVRPD thanks the funding partners of St. George Youth and Teen Center and People’s Self-Help Housing for their community engagement efforts; the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute for the future management of the educational demonstration garden; Pacific Coast Land Design for design expertise and community meetings; The residents of Isla Vista, who helped make the project possible.

IVRPD also thanks Quintero of California State Parks, Santa Barbara County Transportation and Real Property, and the Third District Supervisor’s Office, Hartmann and Gina Fischer.

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