All city parks to have one closing time, more changes
Park users in Santa Barbara may be affected by the recent changes that the Santa Barbara City Council voted on Tuesday evening.
The City Council unanimously voted in favor of the proposed amendments regarding children’s playgrounds and portable grills and stoves.
On the subject of park hours, however, there was a bit of disagreement.
Councilmembers Meagan Harmon and Kristen Sneddon expressed that they would like parks to close at 10 p.m. Ms. Sneddon even made a substitute motion to place the closing as such, but the motion only garnered support from Ms. Harmon.
Councilmember Eric Friedman proposed that the parks close at a half hour after sunset as defined by the National Weather Service. This was the route the City Council ultimately took, and moving forward, park goers will have 30 minutes from sunset to leave the parks.
There are some exceptions. Tournaments and special events can continue past this closing, so long as parties coordinate with the Parks and Recreation at 620 Laguna St.
Mayor Cathy Murillo told the News-Press that if the new measures impose hardships, she would like to hear about it.
“People should let us know if it’s too restrictive,” said Ms. Murillo. “We do want people to enjoy the parks.”
In other parks matters, the City Council unanimously passed multiple usage measures.
The Parks and Recreation Director (currently Jill Zachary) will now have the authority to designate equipment and areas in any of the city’s parks, aquatic facilities (such as Oak Park Wading Pool and Ortega Park Pool) or beaches as children-only areas. The approved proposal defined children as those 12 and under. Youths between 12 and 18 are not prohibited from being present in a playground or aquatic facility, but adults (18 and older) can only enter and remain in the designated children zones when only supervising a child.
As for barbeques, the City Council’s vote classified allowable portable barbeques, grills and camp stoves as those that are stand alone, enclosed, self-contained units, and at least six inches off a surface. Barbeque equipment would be prohibited in areas that would impose high fire hazard such as Parma Park. Currently, the City has 14 parks with stationary barbeques — Bohnett Park, Escondido Park, Eastside Neighborhood Park, Hidden Valley Park, Hilda Ray McIntyre Park, La Mesa Park, MacKenzie Park, Oak Park, Ortega Park, Leadbetter Beach Park, Stevens Park, Skofield Park, Shoreline Park, and Willowglen Park.
The funds to implement the signage for the new measures include $120,000 in the Parks and Recreation Fiscal Year 2020 Capital Program and about $90,000 from the Tobacco Law Enforcement Grant. The phase addressing all remaining parks and facilities is estimated to cost $200,000. Until funding is secured for the $200,000, temporary signs — decals and postings in pars as well as metal signs — will be implemented.
The next City Council Meeting is Aug. 13 at 2 p.m. at the top floor of City Hall at 735 Anacapa St.