Did You Know?
Moving forward requires a change of stance.
— Aniekee Tochukwu Ezekiel
Last week we wrote about the expenditure of our tax dollars and ways to help the homeless, aka the “houseless.”
For a change, let’s use our money to help the youth locally. Let’s invest in our future.
Why not? If we are paying $14 million to renovate Ortega Park in Santa Barbara, let’s go the extra mile and fill the needs of the whole community. After all, how much more could it cost to enlarge the new pool to provide for multi-purpose uses and as a competition pool?
If as Santa Barbara City Council member Mike Jordan said during a recent meeting, $480,000 more for the homeless “.. is not a lot of money…”, then this should fit the bill? There are innumerable reasons why swimming is good for everybody. And doesn’t the Eastside deserve such an amenity? Shouldn’t every man, woman and child be waterproofed?
Victoria Valente, an Eastside resident, is asking for help to encourage the city to do right by the new Aquatic Center at Ortega Park and replace the current design with a competition-size pool.
The Ortega Park “Master Plan” is an upgrade. However, it presents issues due to the Ortega Park Murals.
The pool design doesn’t give our children many future opportunities, should they ever want to participate in aquatic sports. It is possible to save all of the murals while building a high-quality aquatics facility. But the city of Santa Barbara would have to agree to change the Master Plan, and this is the challenge.
Santa Barbara needs more aquatics facilities, including more regulation-size pools. For decades this has been an unfilled demand.
The city’s proposed 25-yard pool with four lanes is not regulation-size, and it would not be able to bring competitive aquatics to Eastside youth or any in our community.
Our aquatics facilities don’t measure up to those in neighboring communities or in Southern California as a whole.
Standard Olympic-size pools (50 meters by 25 yards) can be found almost anywhere, except in Santa Barbara. Please search on the internet for Santa Maria Paul Nelson Aquatic Center, Ventura Aquatic Center and Santa Clarita Aquatic Center. Also check out the Lompoc Aquatic Center.
The city of Santa Barbara has neglected its own findings of infrastructure deficits related to aquatics facilities and it seems it is about to sweep this under the rug to make it “go away.”
Apparently, the city will be omitting these recommendations in future reports and budget planning.
“The need for a second pool was identified in the 2003 Aquatic Complex Feasibility Study. A modern major aquatic facility would include splash playground features, a competition pool that can be multi-programmed to include water polo, a warm water pool and a concession area. It was also identified as a high priority project by the Infrastructure Financing Task Force in October 2008.”
The city of Santa Barbara still has not built an aquatics complex, which is necessary for training and competition.
Competitive Aquatics programs monopolize Los Baños Pool because there is a shortage of space in Santa Barbara. However, Los Baños Pool does not measure up. It may be 50 meters in length, but it is not the standard 25 yard width. The deck area is limited in space.
Additionally, there is no children’s play area within the enclosure, or outside the enclosure, making it non-accommodating to families with children of different ages.
A competition-size pool would allow multiple programs to be in the water simultaneously. Water polo teams have to fight for space at the Santa Barbara Unified School District pool. And even the Santa Barbara City College women’s swim & dive team must practice at San Marcos High School. City College does not have the room to expand to include a men’s team.
Better facilities would allow juveniles to participate in water sports.
The YMCA wants to expand its swim team program and lessons to Ortega Park, but it needs a regulation-size pool to do so. The YMCA swim team provides a competitive league and is more affordable than “club.”
It also would provide scholarships to low-income families.
Often, those who are on a swim team when graduating from high school go on to college.
Being involved in a sport provides a path toward college. It looks good on the applications, provides better chances of acceptance and scholarship. Compared to most physical activities, swimming provides the most health benefits with the least risk of injury, especially when coached appropriately.
Participating in groups that are interested in healthy activities keeps teens out of trouble because there is no free time or energy while swimming competitively!
The result is increased self-esteem for participants.
It doesn’t end with school. Other water activities include: ocean swimming races through organizations such as Reef & Run, Nite Moves, Santa Barbara Triathlon and general biathlon competitions that include pool swimming or lake/ocean swimming.
Adequate space exists for a medium-sized aquatics center where the Ortega Park pool is now. This placement would save the murals!
During hosted weekend swim meets, additional parking could be arranged at Santa Barbara High School Junior High School through the school district. SBJHS already utilizes the basketball court and field for parking during special events. Neighboring communities have managed to fund these facilities, why can’t Santa Barbara?
Please sign the petition and share it with others: chng.it/PB8fQSPjPV.
For further information regarding the Ortega Park Murals, a community meeting will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at the site of the murals. This important meeting — which will cover honoring the murals of Ortega park, learning about the history of the murals and providing input on how best to preserve them in the new plan as part of the improvements of Ortega Park — is hosted by One Community Bridge and Bienestar Latinx in partnership with the city of Santa Barbara, Parks and Recreation and Jill Zachary.
Ms. Valente will be available at Ortega Park to answer questions for the competition swimming pool Saturday near the murals.
Another note to self: Santa Barbara is on the search for a new police chief. A rare opportunity for the public presents itself to share their expectations and priorities to the city for what type of leadership and approach they think would best serve our community, given our specific problems and areas that must be addressed.
We want someone who can do what the city needs, not someone who goes along to get along. We want a leader who will stand with the rank and file, who knows the field, has boots on the ground and lives in the area. We want a leader who is engaged in the city, not someone who is “playful.” Photo ops need not apply.
The Police Chief Recruitment Community Survey will close at midnight Monday. The responses provided will be consolidated and integrated throughout the recruitment process. Please go surveymonkey.com\r\D9KVBPB. This is so important for the future state of our city.
Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
— Aldous Huxley