Although unused and blanketed in weeds now, the four-acre lot on Kellogg Avenue in Old Town Goleta soon will be a thriving play place for local children, if city officials get their way.

The city has purchased the property and recently closed escrow, and on Thursday met to unveil a sign and announce plans for the site.

Mayor Margaret Connell said the unveiling occurring on the first day of school for the Goleta Union School District was symbolic and reflected that the city is thinking about the children who live within its borders.

Connell called the park “sorely needed in Old Town,” adding that at least 100 children live in the apartments directly across the street from the parcel.

Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara County CEO Michael Rattray also talked Thursday about the need for a park, noting that 1,100 children participate in activities at the Goleta Boys & Girls Club, and children from Old Town “make up the lion’s share” of kids who use the facility.

The clubhouse at 5701 Hollister Ave. has been overused for decades, and “we’ve been crying out for space,” Rattray said.

The four-acre site cost the city $2.6 million, and about half of that will come from Redevelopment Agency money and the rest from development impact fees.

The lot was previously owned by Doug Connor, owner of the adjacent Nissan dealership in Old Town. After a year of negotiations, the property finally belongs to the city.

This winter, the city of Goleta will find out whether it will receive an additional state grant of nearly $1 million, which would allow facilities at the park to be built. If that money doesn’t come through, City Manager Dan Singer said Goleta has $360,000 to start on the park’s design process. Multiple city officials said Thursday they’re eager to hear input from neighbors on what the park should include.

Singer said the city aims to select a design firm for the park by this fall, and that the company would facilitate a process for public input.

“We really want this to be the people’s park,” said Claudia Dato, a management analyst for Redevelopment, Neighborhood Services and Public Safety Department. “We have no preconceptions about what should go here.”

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at lcooper@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Lara Cooper, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @laraanncooper

— Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at lcooper@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.