Good News for Green Space in Santa Barbara

Efforts to save land on Arroyo Burro Creek from development have been boosted by a $500,000 grant from The California State Coastal Conservancy (SCC), The Trust for Public Land announced today.

The grant will be added to a $500,000 Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation grant awarded to the project by the California State Natural Resources Agency, and $300,000 in support from Santa Barbara County’s Coastal Resources Enhancement Fund.

“This grant takes this project into the fast lane,” said Gina Fromer, California State Director of The Trust for Public Land. “It shows significant state support for what could be viewed as a local project. I am confident that we can save this land as a public amenity before the year is out.”

Known as ‘Veronica Meadows’, the name given to a residential development proposed for the site, the land is well loved by local people who have used the land as a de facto park for decades. Plans for a bridge from Las Positas Road over the Arroyo Burro Creek into the property were overwhelmingly voted down three years ago, leaving the way open for The Trust for Public Land to negotiate a deal to conserve the land.

“There is no doubt about what the community wants for this land,” says Alex Size, The Trust for Public Land Project Manager stewarding the deal. “Veronica Meadows is already loved and used by kids and adults alike. Go there on any day, and you’ll meet people playing, walking, birding, painting and just enjoying being outdoors in a lovely place. We want this to be the same generations from now.”

Local politicians are supporting the effort, and have drafted plans to restore the Creekside and add the land to the City of Santa Barbara’s parks. Dan McCarter of Friends of Arroyo Burro summed up local sentiment as follows: “The community is ready to rehabilitate this area so that the lungs of Santa Barbara can breathe a sigh of relief.”

“We still have a ways to go to get to the $4 million we need to close the deal,” says Kristin Ellison, local activist and Advisory Board member at The Trust for Public Land. “But I know the Santa Barbara community really sees the value these open spaces bring to all of our lives – because these are places that people flock to in their downtime. I’m looking forward to the day when we all know we’ll always have Veronica Meadows to enjoy as another wonderful place to go and recharge.”