Photo by Pat Pumhiran
With four newly elected members on the Isla Vista Parks and Recreation District Board of Directors, there are a lot of exciting events and projects planned for the upcoming year. University of California Santa Barbara students, Sawyeh Maghsoodloo and Alex Rodriguez, along with two Isla Vista community members outside of the student body population, Pegeen Soutar and Jeff Bessmer, campaigned on the platform of good governance, financially and environmentally sustainable parks, community building events and continuing as well as enhancing recreation programs for Isla Vista children and teens.
As of Thursday, Jan. 11, Maghsoodloo and Bessmer were elected chair and vice chair of the organization respectively.
The five-member board of IVRPD is comprised of elected residents of Isla Vista who assume the responsibility of managing all 23 parks within the unique Isla Vista community. The board stands as the only governing entity within Isla Vista that serves and is elected exclusively by residents of Isla Vista. Historically, the board has been responsible for overseeing the aesthetic aspects of the parks along with handling the implementation of recreational programs, such as the IV Skate Park.
The Isla Vista Recreation and Park District (IVRPD) members recently passed a motion to rebuild the stage in Anisq’Oyo’ Park that was burned down several months ago. The park is located in the heart of Isla Vista and is adjacent to Embarcadero Hall. Moreover, they have decided refill the Anisq’Oyo pond. The Board Directors are currently in the process of organizing and planning a kickoff and fundraiser concert to be held in the park the will allocate all of the proceeds towards reimbursing the cost of restoring the stage. The concert is envisaged to have booths and vendors at the park as well.
More in the works for this year is a yard sale in the Anisq’Oyo’ Park. Maghsoodloo, third-year political science major and new board member, explains this event to be one where “all the residents of Isla Vista can come and sell their personal items as part of a community building day. It would be full of direct transactions between students that I think would be really great!” As per student feedback, this event is being scheduled to take place during the first week of spring quarter in order to allow students to buy and sell new items at the start of the term.
The board’s biggest goal for the upcoming year is to receive a grant for rebuilding one to two of the parks in Isla Vista. Both Dinosaur and Pelican Parks, along with several others, were built on grants. The board aims to re-do either Greek Park or one of the parks located on Del Playa. However, they have not yet decided due to the fact that they are striving to not make decisions on their own this quarter and, rather, to allow the constituents the ability and opportunity to contribute opinions. IVRPD is planning to ask students and residents of Isla Vista what they would like to see, to prioritize these requests and then successfully deliver in the near future.
IVRPD meetings take place on the first Thursday of every month at 5:30 p.m. in the Parks and Recreation office located next to Pita Pit.