SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Word came in the form of an email just before the Holidays.
Jill Zachary, Parks and Recreation Director, shared with the Mayor and Council on December 13 that the City of Santa Barbara was not awarded the $8.4 million dollar grant they sought from CA State Parks.
"We were very disappointed to learn that we were not awarded the grant," Zachary said to NewsChannel 3-12.
Those funds were earmarked for a major renovation of the aging Ortega Park site.
"It was a very competitive process as the State received 468 project applications for $2.4 billion in requests. 112 projects received funding for 50 new parks and 62 park renovations," Zachary explained.
However, Zachary said the City did receive a $1 million dollar award from the National Park Service, specifically for Ortega Park, and confirmed that the project is moving forward.
"The City Council approved the next phase of the project design work in December 14. We are also working with the mural stakeholders to advance the murals implementation plan. The Eastside neighborhood very much needs a new park, and we will continue to seek opportunities to fund the improvements."
For many artists and local residents in the area, saving or restoring more than a dozen murals is a critical component to the park's renovation.
Mark Alvarado, Founder of One Community Bridge Project, said the City has an approved plan to save four murals and commemorate the remaining murals.
"The One Community Bridge Project received $15,000 from the Manitou Fund to promote cultural activities inside Ortega Park," said Alvarado. "This award was a result of our advocacy to save the murals and our cultural heritage in Santa Bárbara."
Click here for more information on the Ortega Park Renewal Project.