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Thursday, January 17 , 2019, 5:34 am | Light Rain Fog/Mist 60º


Santa Maria Park to Be Named for Former Councilman Bob Orach

Longtime city leader to be recognized as Westgate Ranch Park gets new moniker

Bob Orach gets a hug from Santa Maria Mayor Alice Patino Tuesday night after the City Council named a new park after the former city councilman. Click to view larger
Bob Orach gets a hug from Santa Maria Mayor Alice Patino Tuesday night after the City Council named a new park after the former city councilman.  (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

A Santa Maria park will soon sport the name of a man who spent 30 years on the City Council, but his former colleagues delivered some friendly jesting before voting on the proposal.

During a Tuesday night meeting, the City Council agreed — after a some light-hearted debate about the honoree’s worthiness— to rename Westgate Ranch Park after former councilman Bob Orach. 

“Has this guy been vetted?” Councilwoman Etta Waterfield asked. 

“Were there any other names on the list?” Councilman Mike Cordero asked.

The council’s action comes after the Recreation and Parks Commission recommended naming the park for Orach, and city staff deemed he met the qualifications.

Among requirements, the city’s naming policy says the honoree should have shown leadership in community affairs, volunteered in the community, served as a role model and more. 

“Madame Mayor, I would be proud to make a motion that we name this park after Bob Orach,” Cordero said.

“I would be even prouder to second that,” Waterfield said. 

“I’d like to discuss it a little more,” Councilman Jack Boysen jokingly added.

Orach, 74,  stepped down from the council at the end of his term last year, culminating an unusually long stint of 30 years on the panel for the man known for his amusing quips and soft “play ball” uttered out loud after the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of council meetings.

“It’s humbling and embarrassing,” Orach said of the honor as friend and former mayor Larry Lavagnino was among supporters watching from the audience.

Former City Councilman Bob Orach poses near a new park in Santa Maria that has been named after him. Click to view larger
Former City Councilman Bob Orach poses near a new park in Santa Maria that has been named after him. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Orach added he never expected the recognition when he moved to the Santa Maria 40 years ago and became part of the community.

“I got involved as a lot of people have gotten involved,” he added. “I just want to say this is a collaborative of a lot of people — council members, staff, recreation and parks and then all the volunteers from soccer and cycling that came, supported their children, supported their brothers and sisters and sons and daughters.

“That’s what this community is about,” he said. “I’ve always felt that’s kind of your duty, to be involved, to make things possible.”

From the time he moved to Santa Maria in the mid-1970s, Orach worked tirelessly for the improvement of the community, city staff said. 

“His contributions to sports such as basketball, cycling, soccer and other recreational activities are well-chronicled, as are his community government service as a recreation and parks commissioner and city councilman,” city staff added. .

Orach was instrumental in founding the Santa Maria Youth Soccer League decades ago. 

Westgate Ranch Park, 1800 Westgate Road and adjacent Liberty Elementary School, is among the newest of the city 27 parks. The seven acres several blocks west of Blosser Road include a large playground, and abundant open space with restrooms and barbecue picnic areas available.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully 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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