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Wednesday, December 19 , 2018, 12:03 am | Fair 45º


Wooden Boardwalk Among New Features Planned to Spruce Up Cabrillo Pavilion Arts Center

$11 million renovation includes upgrades of East Beach Grill, gym facilities in bid to create waterfront recreation center

Designs for the restoration of Santa Barbara’s Cabrillo Pavilion Arts Center & Bathhouse have been revealed, and the plans include a wooden boardwalk along the beach, new gym facilities and redesigning the restaurant space.

At the Historic Landmarks Commission meeting Wednesday, Jill Zachary, assistant director of the city’s Parks & Recreation Department, gave some historical background on the city-owned building, which has hosted many community programs and events since it was built in 1926.

“The city is forever indebted to (philanthropist) David Gray for this building,” she said.

The building at 1118 E. Cabrillo Blvd. has served as a dance hall, wedding venue, temporary housing for servicemen during World War II, event center and a youth center over the years, Zachary said.

Renovations are meant to revamp the shower and gym facilities, which are very out-of-date, and upgrade the overall accessibility and functionality of the building so it can be better-utilized as a community and event center, she said.

There’s “quite a bit of room for improvement in terms of revenue” with upgraded facilities, she noted.

The city wants to make the building a viable community recreation center and return it to its status as the “crown jewel of East Cabrillo Boulevard.”

In the proposed designs, the first floor would be completely renovated, the city would add a dedicated space for aquatic sports programs, and the East Beach Grill space would be redesigned.

Fenced off after being declared unsafe, the playground at the Cabrillo Pavilion Arts Center will soon undergo renovations of its own. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)
Fenced off after being declared unsafe, the playground at the Cabrillo Pavilion Arts Center will soon undergo renovations of its own. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

There would be some changes to the building’s landscaping and accessibility as well.

The building and stoa — the covered walkway to the east of the building — are city structures of merit so the Historic Landmarks Commission will review the exterior design changes.

The design’s new wooden boardwalk would run along the beach side of the main parking lot on the west side of the building and then perpendicular out onto the sand from the eastern side.

There wouldn’t be changes to the patio dining area that exists now and the playground — which was deemed unsafe and fenced off — will be replaced in the same area.

East Beach Grill owner Francisco Aguilera intends to stay involved in the design process and supports the project, his attorney said during Wednesday’s meeting. The restaurant has been a tenant in the building for 30 years.

Parks and recreation department staff gave several presentations to advisory commissions last week and held a community meeting to present the plans to the public.

The City Council allocated $1 million for project design in April and city staff estimated the total cost at $11 million. Most of the project will be funded from Redevelopment Agency bond funds that were approved for the project before the RDA was dissolved.

There is $9.1 million of RDA funding available and the city plans to fundraise for the rest.

Engineers are working on a sea-level rise vulnerability report, which is required to get a coastal development permit from the California Coastal Commission, Zachary said.

The project also needs Planning Commission review for a coastal development permit.

Noozhawk news editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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