ISLA VISTA, Calif. -- The Isla Vista Recreation and Park District received $4.2 million in state grant funding to do a full renovation of Children's Park.
“Children's Park is the heart of Isla Vista's multigenerational household community. These park improvements will be the center piece of treasured memories for friends and neighbors in the years to come,” said Second District Supervisor Gregg Hart.
Two nature-themed playgrounds, an amphitheater, a new standalone restroom, an educational demonstration garden, and a renovated recreation building are among some of the improvements coming to the park – which are expected to be complete by winter 2023/24, according to IVRPD District Clerk Nicholas Norman.
The IVRPD selected Children's Park to improve the health and quality of life for intergenerational families living in Isla Vista who have not been represented in community planning for years, Norman said.
After five community planning meetings, the IVRPD Board of Directors approved a final conceptual site plan for the park on March 4.
“As an advocate for parks, trails, and open-spaces, I am thrilled to celebrate this grant with the community in IV,” said Board of Supervisors Chair Joan Hartmann.
“I have seen the plan for the park, and so much of it came from the community, especially the Latinx families who live in IV. This project is exciting for the health, well-being, and sense of belonging for the residents of IV ... this park will be a premier community park in our County.”
In December 2021, California State Parks awarded over $548 million in grant funding to more than 100 communities to advance Gov. Gavin Newsom's "Outdoors for All" initiative, which enables all Californians to access parks and open space regardless of income or zip code, Norman said.
IVRPD was among 112 finalists chosen from a pool of over 460 state agencies that applied to the Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Grant Program, or the SPP Grant.
The SPP grant is the largest investment in state history in expanding access to underserved communities like Isla Vista, according to Norman.
IVRPD is hosting a neighborhood block party at Children's Park, located at 810 Camino Del Sur, from noon to 3 p.m. to celebrate the grant award on Saturday.
There will be live music, free food, and games at the free event, Norman said.
Congressman Salud Carbajal, State Senator Monique Limón, Director of California State Parks Armando Quintero, Hartmann, and Hart will be in attendance.