Tuesday, October 16 , 2018, 5:52 am | Fair 53º

 
 
 
 

Alpha Resource Center Breaks Ground on Park in Honor of Ugo Melchiori

Friends and family pay tribute to him on what would have been his 70th birthday

More than 100 friends and family of the late Ugo Melchiori gathered Tuesday at the Alpha Resource Center to pay tribute to him on what would have been his 70th birthday.

He was known and respected for his generosity. Many guests commented that he was a man who would give you the shirt off his back.

“Ugo was very special,” said longtime friend Renato Moiso, owner of Via Maestra 42. “If I ever needed to talk to him, he would drop everything and give me his full attention. He would help me in any way he could. He was that kind of man.”

The Alpha Resource Center, a 57-year-old nonprofit agency that provides support and services for people with developmental disabilities and their families, was a cause close to Melchiori’s heart.

Longtime friends Dante and Maria Panizzon have a son who participates in Alpha’s adult services, and they were the inspiration for a fund set up by Melchiori to sustain Alpha’s programs. The Ugo L. Melchiori Imagine Park includes an orchard, outdoor education space and an events center to serve the needs of participants at Alpha and the broader community. Phase I is complete, with the installation of 104 fruit trees, and ground was broken Tuesday on Phase II, which will include knot gardens, a pergola, paved walkways and additional parking space.

“Ugo loved trees, he loved fruit — he would sometimes make a meal out of it! — and he had a soft spot for the disadvantaged,” said Linda Melchiori, Ugo’s wife. “We are happy to be part of a project that encompasses so many things he loved.”

Melchiori’s son Mark acknowledged the support of the staff of Melchiori Construction, in addition to his wife Heather and daughter Isabella, who were present at the event.

“Dad loved the rain, so he must be with us now,” he said. “I miss you, Dad.”

The morning closed with attendees singing “Happy Birthday” to Melchiori. During the singing, the rain and wind kicked up, leaving guests wondering about Melchiori’s presence at his birthday celebration.

The Alpha Resource Center is proud and excited to have the dream of an inclusive community become a reality. The Ugo L. Melchiori Imagine Park will provide a venue for bringing the community closer together. For more information on participating in the project, e-mail Cory Woodruff at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

— Marisa Pasquini is an outreach Coordinator for the Alpha Resource Center of Santa Barbara.

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