A multi-sport artificial turf field, lap pool, wading pool, skate park, ping pong tables and more will soon be featured at Ortega Park in a $14 million renovation project.
Thursday evening, city planners and recreation officials presented a virtual update to the project plan and reviewed public art opportunities for Ortega Park.
Planners are aiming for a multi-generational, safe and cultural recreation zone for all community members.
In the current master plan, which is still subject to change, city officials plan to add 23 parking spaces to the park, including six accessible spaces and two loading areas.
There will be a year-round, multi-sport artificial turf field for soccer, baseball, lacrosse and more, complete with sport lighting and permit access.
“Any increase in positive activity in the park for all ages throughout the day is a strategic tool to… avoid poor use of the park,” said Rich Hanna, the recreation manager.
There are also plans to implement a full 26,870 square foot aquatic facility, including a welcome house, a non-competitive lap pool five feet deep, a warm wading pool with a beach entrance, a pool slide and play features, a splash pad, restrooms and showers and parking and drop-off.
The pool will operate year-round throughout the days and evenings with evening lighting. Swimmers can pay for a drop-in or sign up for a membership.
The multi-generational recreation zone will include a 12,300 square foot skate park with bowls, transitions and street skating, basketball courts, cornhole and bocce ball, ping pong and other game tables, shaded seating and bike racks.
The park will be open for the typical hours of other Santa Barbara parks — sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.
“The ultimate goal of this park is to be a community asset,” Mr. Hanna concluded.
Justin Van Mullem, the project planner, outlined the importance of preserving the art already present at Ortega Park and the opportunities for new murals and art pieces.
“The square footage of the existing buildings is, say, about 1,000 square feet,” he said. “We’re going to double that square footage.”
Many opportunities for art lie in the family picnic area planned for the park, which will include a promenade, a playground with colorful rubber, shade sails and a picnic area.
There is potential for art in the form of murals, pathway mosaics, seating sculptures and skate park art.
The next steps for the Ortega Park Master Plan will be to come back in 2021 to develop a public art plan, incorporate the art into construction drawings and begin constructing parking improvement in 2022. The project is seeking grants and city funds for construction costs.
Ricardo Venegas with the city’s neighborhood and outreach services reiterated that the city will preserve the identity and culture of the park, reaching out to members of the Chumash tribe and the rest of the community members. He encouraged the formation of an Ortega Park Art Committee.
“We want to be inclusive of everyone in the neighborhood,” he said.
To learn more about the Ortega Park Master Plan, visit https://www.santabarbaraca.gov/gov/depts/parksrec/keyinitiatives/currentprojs/ortegaparkproject.asp.