The Santa Barbara Planning Commission on Thursday approved a plan for the Shoreline Park Safety Improvement Project, which will replace sidewalk and fencing around the 2008 landslide area.

After the landslide, the city hired a geologist to assess the area and help with a long-term plan for the park, which includes replacing fencing, lighting and sidewalks and adding more vegetation to prevent erosion.

The Parks & Recreation Department also plans to fence off the lookout at MacGillivray Point, named for the late Mayor Don MacGillivray, who oversaw the purchase of the park land in the 1960s.

Assistant Parks & Recreation Director Jill Zachary said MacGillivray Point has a “potential for sudden failure” and a fence restricting the area is essential for public safety.

Zachary said the project will take about 10 weeks in the spring 2012 and is expected to cost $237,000.

Commissioners approved the proposal but asked staff members to find a new, safe lookout point to honor MacGillivray, in response to community concerns.

Many Mesa residents asked the commission to save the lookout point, saying a permanent fence seems extreme.

The second phase, which isn’t funded, would evaluate the whole coastal bluff and consider relocating some of the park’s resources before erosion becomes critical, according to Zachary.

The park is “near and dear to many generations of Santa Barbarans at this point,” she said.

Shoreline Park went from farmland to vacant land before being purchased by the city in 1967. A bond measure raised more than $1 million to purchase the land, which now hosts walking paths, beach access, a playground, picnic areas, restrooms and parking.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.