In 2011 the City purchased a 4-acre site near the corner of Hollister and Kellogg Avenues for the purpose of developing an active recreation park there.
Purpose and Need
It has been a desire of the City to increase the amount of active recreation space within Old Town Goleta for many years and is an identified need within the City’s strategic plan. With the purchase of this four acre parcel in 2011, this goal will become a reality.
In 2011 the City purchased a 4-acre site near the corner of Hollister and Kellogg Avenues for developing an active recreation park. The City subsequently embarked on a process for designing the new facility. Throughout the design process, the City held three well-attended public workshops to gather input from the community. City staff and the design team of Van Atta Associates also met with several smaller groups to discuss design issues related to the new (yet to be named) Neighborhood Park.
Those in attendance at the various meetings and workshops provided input on the goals for the park and amenities they would like to see included in its design. The design team led by Van Atta Associates Landscape Architects took all the public input from the first two workshops and prepared several design options for the park. The renderings were then presented at another public workshop in July 2012. A little more feedback on features and options led to a final conceptual design which was then reviewed by the City’s Design Review Board (DRB) and then the Parks and Recreation Commission. While the types of amenities, other featured elements, the size and layout of the park have been determined; the colors, style, and other specifics related to the features are undecided now.
In October 2013, another public workshop was held to obtain input specific to the design of the park’s skateboard plaza. After receiving guidance from local area skaters and the public, a final design was developed. But, what has happened since?
The Parks & Recreation Commission have worked closely with staff and the community to design a facility to meet the needs of today and the future for the residents of Old Town. The design has evolved to contain a multitude of recreational amenities and landscaping, including a multi-purpose field, two multi-use courts for basketball, tennis and pickleball, a handball court, concrete ping-pong tables, a bocce ball court, a perimeter walking path, fitness nodes with exercise equipment, picnic areas, splash pad, playground and a skateboard plaza. With so many great amenities, Old Town Park will be a fantastic place for children, and adults, to play.
In September of 2015, a final design of Old Town Park was brought to the City Council for consideration. The City Council provided direction to staff for some modifications. These changes included: enlarging the bathrooms and adjusting the alignment of the San Jose Creek Bike Path to avoid impacts to Creekside habitat. Staff made the requested changes and the revised park design was taken back to the Parks and Recreation Commission in November 2016 incorporating the City Council feedback. The park design still needs to return to the City Council for final approval (expected in early summer 2017).
Why is this process taking so long? This is a frustration felt by many community members as well as staff, councilmembers and commissioners. If a magic wand could be waved, children would be playing on the park tomorrow. However, we have had numerous unforeseen issues that have created a few hurdles for the development process. The park has taken longer to build than anticipated for two reasons: 1) the design of the park went through several modifications to comply with new water restrictions imposed by the Goleta Water District due to the prolonged drought; and 2) ownership of the site needs to be resolved between the City and the State of California since title to the property was held by the City’s former Redevelopment Agency (RDA). When the State eliminated RDAs in 2011 there was a mandate for property held by RDAs to be disposed of. The City has been attempting to acquire title to the property since that time. The City is currently working on a new strategy to acquire title to the property and hopes to be successful in that effort within the coming months.
In the meantime, staff will continue efforts on the final design so the project can move quickly upon the successful title acquisition. This is the first park in Goleta’s history to be built by the citizens of the City of Goleta, which is exciting for all involved.
The City recently received a grant of $910,000 from the Proposition 84 funds. In addition, the City received a $10,000 grant from the Davenport Institute for the public engagement process. Additional sources of funding are currently being identified.