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Monday, March 18 , 2019, 7:14 am | Fair 51º


Bath Street Pocket Park Opens in Santa Barbara’s West Downtown Neighborhood

The new playground is ready for families with young children to enjoy on the corner of Ortega and Bath streets

The Bath Street Pocket Park officially opened this week, providing a playground and seating areas for Santa Barbara’s West Downtown neighborhood.
The Bath Street Pocket Park officially opened this week, providing a playground and seating areas for Santa Barbara’s West Downtown neighborhood.  (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

One of the oldest neighborhoods in Santa Barbara now has a pocket park for young children to enjoy, and city officials celebrated its opening this week.

The pocket park sits at the corner of Ortega and Bath streets in the West Downtown neighborhood, and is bordered by Mission Creek and the recently replaced Ortega Street Bridge.

Last March, the Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Commission voted unanimously to put in playground equipment aimed at children ages 2 to 5, along with several benches, trash cans and new landscaping.

Three houses on the lot were demolished for the Ortega Bridge that was replaced in 2012, and the remaining land was zoned for parks.

The city held a neighborhood meeting to hear what residents wanted to see on the parcel, and about 30 people showed up, along with numerous children.

The area that holds the project is a buffer area for the creek, and the playground that was placed there is one of the last projects to be completed before Redevelopment Agencies across the state were dissolved.

Santa Barbara City Council members and other officials celebrate the opening of Bath Street Pocket Park with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

"It's like the little pocket park that could," Mayor Helene Schneider said just before cutting the ribbon on Wednesday morning.

Jill Zachary, assistant director of the Parks & Recreation Department, said the tiny parcel presented challenges.

"It was pretty tough to figure out how to squirrel away a playground here," she said.

Lesley Wiscomb said getting the park installed has been a priority of the city's Parks and Recreation Commission for years.

The addition of the Bath Street Pocket Park brings the number of playgrounds in the city to 22, Wiscomb said, adding that she's excited to bring her own grandchildren to play at the new park. 

Fencing has gone up around Alameda Park for the groundwater well relocation project. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

Across town, work is taking place at another city park where crews are working to relocate a groundwater well to help deal with the drought.

Passersby to Alameda Park may have noticed tall green fencing that has gone up around a well site near the public restrooms.

The Alameda Park Well has been in place since 1990 to help access the city's groundwater supply, but began pumping sand last year due to a failure in the well's structure, putting it out of service.

The city is relocating the well about 100 feet away from the existing site, so the fenced-off area will be closed off to the public until July 2015.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper 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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