Changes to playgrounds and pools are in the works as the city of Santa Barbara plans to make several upgrades and renovations to parks over the next several months.
“We have quite a lot going on,” Parks and Recreation Director Jill Zachary said.
Among the major changes is a plan to upgrade Kids World at Alameda Park.
“The great thing about Kids World is that is unique,” said George Thomson, capital projects supervisor. “It is not an on-the-shelf product. It is unlike any playground in the world.”
Hundreds of community volunteers came together in 1993 to build Kids World, a sprawling playground that attracts kids and families seven days a week.
The city plans to start construction and replace of some of the equipment in the fall, and the playground will be closed until April 2017. Capital funding of $509,000 has been set aside to complete the project.
Thomson said that since the playground is unique, crews will have to focus on a custom solution to make safety and accessibility improvements.
More changes at other parks are in the works.
The city plans to add stretching equipment at the Andree Clark Bird Refuge. The curved and straight metal bars are designed for seniors to stretch, and the equipment will be erected in the open space next to the parking lot.
The project includes three pieces of equipment, including a stretching bar, hip flex unit, and an air walker.
Project construction costs are $51,210, including a private donation of $10,000, plus $10,000 in PARC Park Improvement funds, and $31,210 in city general funds. It is anticipated that the project will be complete in May.
“It is outdoors,” Thomson said. “It is free. It will be accessible. It will be a great place to either start or end your run.”
The Bird Refuge project will begin within the next 10 days.
Officials also plan to install new playground equipment at Bohnett Park on the Westside on April 12. It replaces a playground installed more than 10 years ago and the new features include a walkway in front of the playground and moving the picnic tables.
These changes will allow for park access and field improvements to be designed in the future, as well as provide space for the addition of an adult fitness area. The estimated cost of the playground and minor site improvements is $183,000.
The park will be closed in mid-April and re-open by summer.
At Oak Park, the city plans to add a ramp to the Oak Park Wading Pool, so “the little ones can actually walk right into the pool,” Thomson said.
In addition to those projects, the city plans to install a walking pathway at Chase Palm Park, near the corner of Cabrillo Boulevard and Garden Streets, for a cost of $128,000.
The city hopes to encourage pedestrians to either walk in the park or cross the street to the sidewalk on the south side of Cabrillo Boulevard.
Nearby, the city plans to renovate the Chase Palm Park Restroom for a cost of about $155,000.
The city will add a fence around the bathrooms and a rod iron gate in front of the entrance so that the restrooms can be locked after hours, to address public safety concerns and discourage overnight camping and extended use of the park area around the restroom.
The city also plans to install new bike racks and landscaping in front of Los Baños Del Mar pool to support the swimmers who ride their bicycles to the facility.
Sometime next year, the city is also considering adding a fenced off-leash dog area to MacKenzie Park, renovate the Thousand Steps Beach Stairwell on the Mesa, and make improvements to the Franceschi Park outdoor area.
“It is a really exciting set of projects,” said LeeAnne French, a member of the Parks and Recreation Commission.
“It is fantastic that you guys are planning ahead and listening to the community.”
— Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.