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Monday, March 25 , 2019, 5:20 am | Fair 47º


Santa Barbara Council Moves Forward with New Pocket Park, Cabrillo Pavilion Renovation

The park would be built at the corner of Bath and Ortega streets and include a playground for children

The Santa Barbara City Council on Tuesday moved ahead with two construction projects — one in a densely populated neighborhood, the other in a high-traveled tourist area.

Council members voted unanimously to spend about $160,000 to build a pocket park on the corner of Bath and Ortega streets.

The park would feature a playground for children 2 to 5 years old, lighting, an iron fence, landscaping, and a mosaic tile mural at the entrance to the park.

"We want families and people to be here," said Jill Zachary, assistant Parks & Recreation director. "This has been something that the neighborhood keeps reminding us that they have been waiting for, for 15 years."

The council plans to plant four trees at the site, but hold off on the overall landscaping until the drought conditions change.

Councilman Gregg Hart, however, was hopeful that the city would consider fully landscaping the site at the time it opens because the amount of water that would be needed would be "inconsequential" in the overall scheme of water use.

To not fully landscape at the beginning would be an act of "symbolism," but not based on reality and facts, Hart said. 

"I personally think it is really important to have this park done," Hart said. "We have to make this park look good from the first day it is installed for the neighborhood that has been waiting for 15 years."

Officials plan to cut the ribbon on the park in January.

The council also decided to spend about $15,000 for an archaeological investigation and biological-resources report for a planned $3 million renovation of the Cabrillo Pavilion and Bath House.

The city wants to return the center, located on East Beach, back to its its original status as the “crown jewel of East Cabrillo Boulevard.”

Officials hope to enhance beach access and expand the public-use area around the building.

"It was one way to anchor Santa Barbara," Zachary said.

The pavilion was built in 1926. Zachary said parts of the exterior look "dark" and not very inviting.

Plans call for the creation of a boardwalk, modeled after Santa Monica, Zachary said. 

The city plans redo the guts of the building, renovating the mechanical, electrical, plumbing and structural areas.

Mayor Helene Schneider said she is hopeful that the redesign will be completed by 2016.

"It's exciting to see," Schneider said. "How great would it be if we could aim for it to be completed by its 90th birthday in 2016."

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina 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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