Acquired in 1925, Dwight Murphy Field was formerly known as the Municipal Soccer Field. Today it still serves as the City’s only dedicated soccer facility. Other amenities at Dwight Murphy Field include a playground, softball field, parking lot, and restroom. An outdoor fitness area is also located at the southern edge of the park.
Similar to Ortega Park and other public spaces managed by the City, Dwight Murphy Field suffers from public misuse. Showers, changing facilities, and a concessionaire stand constructed adjacent to the soccer field in 1969 are no longer operational and the building is closed to the public. This set of buildings create a visual barrier from more visible portions of the park, which contributes to frequent misuse behaviors behind the buildings. Although recent efforts by the Department to limit illegal camping areas have shown positive results, the vacant shower and concessionaire building needs to be removed or repurposed and the site better integrated into the sports field and playground areas.
The proposed master planning of Dwight Murphy Field will optimize the use of sports field space, develop a concept plan for a fully accessible playground, and redesign the restroom and defunct shower and concessionaire facilities. Key to maximizing use of the sports fields is an evaluation of replacing the natural turf with artificial turf to accommodate additional playing area. Ball field and security lighting will also be evaluated. New picnic facilities, landscape renovation, replacement of the adult fitness equipment, and improved park entries are also envisioned as part of the master plan development. These improvements will better position the City to provide much needed sports field facilities and an inclusive playground for residents and visitors.
In late 2016, the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation (the GSF), a local non-profit dedicated to increasing global awareness of Spinal Muscular Atrophy, contacted the Department to explore the opportunity to develop a universally accessible playground in a City park. A universally accessible playground is a space designed to remove physical barriers to allow children of all abilities to play side-by-side. The Department evaluated potential sites throughout the City’s parks inventory and Dwight Murphy Field is the best location due its dedicated parking and onsite restroom facilities. The master planning for Dwight Murphy Field will include conceptual design of the universally accessible playground and supporting amenities. The GSF has indicated its support to pursue funding for the construction of a universally accessible playground and other park improvements at Dwight Murphy Field.
Parks and Recreation Commission
Wednesday, December 12, 2018 at 4:00 p.m.
Santa Barbara City Hall, upstairs in Council chambers
735 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara CA 93101