The comprehensive renewal of Ortega Park will provide a diverse recreation complex with youth sports fields, a pool for swim and splash play facilities, skatepark, playground and community plaza, multi-generational zone with basketball courts, and other features.
The vision for Ortega Park was developed through extensive community collaboration. The new Ortega Park will truly be a community park designed by the community itself.
Ortega Park, first developed in 1930, is just under 5.5 acres (a full city block) and supports a combined youth soccer and baseball turf field, basketball courts, small community building, restroom, playground and a small seasonal outdoor summer pool for youth learn-to-swim programs.
Today, Ortega Park suffers from numerous deficiencies including an outdated pool facility, limited sports turf, lack of field and park lighting, and outdated playground, undersized restroom, lack of picnic and family gathering areas, limited recreation amenities, and poor pedestrian circulation around and through the park due to the lack of sidewalks and pathways. The current park layout and amenities date from the early 1950s and last received updates in 1975. It's time for an update that will make Ortega Park a vibrant community destination for years. to come.
The vision and plan for a revitalized Ortega Park, developed over a year-long community engagement process, includes enhancements to the existing amenities as well as the development of new recreation opportunities in order to serve a broad cross-section of park users.
Right now, the Santa Barbara community is served by just two public swimming pools, one at Los Baños del Mar and the second—open only in the summer—at Ortega Park.
The plan for Ortega Park’s future includes a 26,870 square foot multi-purpose pool area, open year-round, featuring three distinct zones to accommodate different activities simultaneously. The pool area will include: wet play/wading pool; non-competitive lap pool; pool slide/play feature; pool facility building with restrooms, showers, lockers, offices, and classrooms; outdoor furnishings, and shade structures.
An activity zone for multi-generational use will be located at the southern corner of Ortega Park. The area will serve as a key day-to-day activator for the park and provide activities for various age ranges throughout the year. Most notably, this allows the incorporation of amenities that were selected and highly supported by the community through the public input process. These include a skate plaza, basketball court, bocce ball, ping pong, cornhole, shaded seating, and bike racks.
The area balances the various active uses by placing the more intensive uses (such as the skate plaza and basketball court) further from the edge of the street and placing the less intensive areas (corn hole, bocce ball, and ping pong) near the perimeter. These amenities will be popular with adults during morning and evening hours when area children are in school.
Santa Barbara’s only public skatepark, Skater’s Point, opened in 2001, and the popularity of skateboarding justifies a new dedicated area for skating. One corner of Ortega Park will become a skate plaza, with an emphasis on street skating elements. Due to the high popularity of skateboarding, we estimate that the 12,300 square foot skate plaza will draw 200-350 skaters over the course of each week with higher use after school and on the weekends, for up to 15,000 visits per year.
The design of this new skatepark was very much a collaborative effort of skatepark designers and the Santa Barbara skate community. An exciting, functional design was developed, offering the features most in demand today.
Accessibility is a top priority, as Ortega Park in its current form does not provide ideal access for all. A path around the perimeter of the park, along with accessible internal pathways, will be enhanced by more than 100 new shade trees and landscaping, making the park both functional and beautiful.
This $14 million project was kicked off with $1 million from the City of Santa Barbara General Fund. Grant funding will be key; sponsorships and naming opportunities are available for those who wish to support the project.