The closed West Beach wading pool in Santa Barbara.
Santa Barbara plans to replace the West Beach wading pool with a splash playground, at 401 Shoreline Drive. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

The Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation Department wants to turn the leaky West Beach wading pool into a splash playground, and the City Council voted Tuesday to fund design plans for the project.

Splash playgrounds, also called splash pads, have a concrete surface and water jets for children to play in, and do not require lifeguards as pools do.

The West Beach wading pool has been closed since 2014 due to leaks and the ongoing drought, and would require a tremendous cost to rebuild, Parks & Recreation Director Jill Zachary said.

The city has been considering a splash playground at that location, next to Los Baños del Mar swimming pool at 401 Shoreline Drive, since 2003.

Anytime she mentions a splay playground to anyone in the community, “their eyes light up and they smile,” even if they don’t have children, Zachary said. 

The City Council approved a professional services agreement with SWA Group of $152,240 for design plans. The construction plans and bid support are expected to cost an additional $135,635, according to a staff report.

Santa Barbara’s Parks & Recreation Department also operates the Ortega Park Pool at 600 N. Salsipuedes St. and the Oak Park Wading Pool at 300 W. Alamar Ave. both open during summers. 

City Council members also approved a $226,286 agreement with SWA Group to design conceptual plans and construction documents for a Bohnett Park renovation project.

The project will improve picnic areas, the basketball court, install better lighting and possibly replace the grass with a artificial turf field.

Bohnett Park is the only public park in the Westside neighborhood and “natural turf cannot withstand the high intensity of use so the field is often bare dirt at certain times of the year,” according to a staff report.

Click here for an interactive map of Santa Barbara city parks.

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.