Stow Grove Park in Goleta.
Possible improvements for Goleta’s Stow Grove Park Master Plan include putting in a themed or all-abilities playground. (Serena Guentz / Noozhawk photo)

Changes and additions to parks in Goleta were discussed by the City Council on Tuesday evening, including the addition of a splash pad to Jonny D. Wallis Park and the Stow Grove Park Master Plan.

The council approved plans for the splash pad at Jonny D. Wallis Park and authorized city staff to move the project forward by advertising a notice inviting bids.

The neighborhood park opened in March 2019, and the original design included the splash pad, which wasn’t completed at the time of construction because of water restrictions.

However, soon after, on April 9, 2019, the Goleta Water District adopted a resolution to terminate the Stage Three and Stage Two Water Shortage Emergencies, allowing the city to move forward with the splash pad design and construction.

RRM Design Group was then selected to design the project and develop plans, specifications and cost estimates.

The design for the splash pad includes in-ground jets and a support building that will house all mechanical features and chemical storage above ground. The support facility also will include two outdoor showers, a utility sink and an eye-washing sink indoors.

In addition to constructing the splash pad, whoever is selected to carry out construction of the project will also make improvements to the park, including more fencing for the basketball and pickleball courts, shade structures for the picnic shelters near the multipurpose field, and security lighting and cameras.

According to a staff report, the splash pad will use a closed water system that captures, filters and recycles water, and a timed user-operated system also will save water.

The estimated project costs total about $1.7 million.

Additionally, the council authorized staff to move forward with the Stow Grove Master Plan after receiving an update presentation on the project.

The project originally involved only renovating the field at Stow Grove Park, with new turf irrigation and replacement or improvement of existing amenities, but it later became a project to improve the whole park.

“The community highly values this park for its active and passive recreation components, and staff was already looking at much more than just a field renovation with the needed ADA improvements for access,” the update’s staff report said. “As such, the public outreach efforts kicked off in October of 2020 with a community survey asking questions that were inclusive of the entire park, providing information and requesting feedback for possible additional improvements and future improvement phases.”

After receiving results of the survey, the Parks and Recreation Commission and the City Council decided to develop a Master Plan design for the entire park.

A public workshop was held on April 23, followed by the distribution of another public survey. More than 1,000 surveys were filled out, with feedback on where several amenities should be in the park, if at all.

“There’s so much about this park that is so special,” Mayor Paula Perotte said. “I just want to keep that natural beauty that people love.”

Some of the amenities that may be included in the Master Plan, after looking at the survey results include, fitness equipment, an all-abilities playground, a small stage or meeting area, and renovation of the existing soccer field and baseball field, among other park elements.

Several design elements and suggestions were presented to the City Council on Tuesday, each including nature-based and passive activities; social, educational and cultural or historical activities; and play, active and skill development activities.

Stow Grove Park in Goleta.

Group picnic areas can be reserved at Stow Grove Park. (Serena Guentz / Noozhawk photo)

Examples of possible nature and passive amenities include misting forest pathways, creekside garden trails, native and pollinator gardens, and more, while examples of social and educational amenities include looped trails and walkways, gazebos or activity plazas, bird nesting and viewing locations, outdoor classrooms and more.

Some possible play and active amenities that were brought up Tuesday include exercise trails, fitness plazas, balance beams, bridges and climbing nets, themed and universal playgrounds, group social sports, and more.

The Master Plan will also include several general park improvements such as enhancing the existing redwood groves, enhancing existing walking trails, upgrading existing caretaker and maintenance facilities, and upgrading the existing picnic areas.

Several configurations of amenities were presented, which can be seen in the item’s staff presentation here.

“This is a community treasure that was gifted to the entire city before it was a city,” Councilman James Kyriaco said. “I just think it’s important that we recognize that while this is a park that’s very valuable to that neighborhood, it’s also a park that’s really important to people that live in [other areas of Goleta].”

Next steps in the Stow Grove Park Master Plan development process include additional public workshops and surveys tentatively scheduled for November and January, final presentation of the Draft Master Plan in February, and final approval of the Master Plan in March.

“I really am looking forward to the public process that we’re going to have and really collecting that feedback from people and hearing what people in the neighborhood and the rest of the city are looking forward to,” Councilman Kyle Richards said.

Noozhawk staff writer Serena Guentz can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Serena Guentz, Noozhawk Staff Writer

Noozhawk staff writer Serena Guentz can be reached at