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Local News

Santa Barbara to Renovate ‘Horrifying’ Cabrillo Ball Field Beginning Feb. 1

City Council approves $1,070,496 construction contract for the work with Santa Paula-based Tomar Construction, Inc.

The Santa Barbara City Council voted 6-0 on Tuesday to award a $1,070,496 construction contract to Santa Paula-based Tomar Construction, Inc. to renovate the Cabrillo Ball Field near the waterfront. Click to view larger
The Santa Barbara City Council voted 6-0 on Tuesday to award a $1,070,496 construction contract to Santa Paula-based Tomar Construction, Inc. to renovate the Cabrillo Ball Field near the waterfront. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

A prominent Santa Barbara waterfront park described as "horrifying" and a place of "prostitution, drug use and vandalism" is going to get a new look.

The Santa Barbara City Council voted 6-0 on Tuesday to award a $1,070,496 construction contract to Santa Paula-based Tomar Construction, Inc. to renovate the Cabrillo Ball Field

The project consists of new turf and irrigation throughout the park, and a new softball clay infield to improve drainage. Crews also will install an outdoor fitness circuit featuring 13 pieces of aerobic and strength training equipment, along a new walking path.

The park will receive new pedestrian lighting, bike parking, and a formal entrance on Milpas Street and Cabrillo Boulevard. 

City Parks and Recreation Director Jill Zachary at Tuesday's meeting said the park has been used by many generations of Santa Barbarans, but that it has evolved into "a place where no one wanted to go because they didn't feel safe there."

The renovation is also needed, Zachary said because "Santa Barbara is not rich in field space."

The council was widely supportive of the ball field renovations, but Councilman Jason Dominguez was skeptical of the Norwell outdoor fitness equipment, which will cost $72,776, and is recommended for people 14 and older.

Dominguez, who represents Santa Barbara's Eastside, said he didn't believe children would use the equipment, particularly the airwalker. He said there was already plenty of walking opportunities nearby on Cabrillo Boulevard. 

"Why would people stop walking on this beautiful boardwalk to walk on this air-walker," Dominguez asked. "I can't imagine kids spending a lot of time on these air-walkers."

Dominguez said he has tried the air walker at the Andree Clark Bird Refuge, and "they are not a comfortable, fluid movement."

Dominguez asked if the equipment could be sent back to the factory for a refund if people didn't use it. 

Zachary said the Parks and Recreation Department did a lot of research on the equipment.

"From the people I know in the athletic world, the air walkers are good pre-and post-workout," Zachary said. 

The council members agreed with Zachary in the end.

"Considering Ms. Zachary's workout habits versus mine, I support Ms. Zachary's comments," on the equipment, councilman Randy Rowse said. 

The facility will be closed from February to August for the renovations.

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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