It’s a piece of ocean bluff with a multi-million dollar view of the Santa Barbara Channel in Santa Barbara. It’s also a weed-strewn chunk of land off of Santa Barbara’s Shoreline Drive that’s hemmed in by a chain link fence.
Dennis Thompson is a Santa Barbara Mesa resident, who’s an architect. He’s part of a non-profit group called Mesa Architects, which is made up of people who work in the field and want to improve the Mesa area.
Thompson says the group’s latest project is try to turn the scraggly fenced-in field next to La Mesa Park into a scenic ocean overlook.
It’s an idea that’s been floating around for more than five years, and though everyone seems to like it, it’s a little more complicated than you might think. Issues like funding for the park, maintenance, and liability made it hard to get an agency to volunteer to sponsor a park. The City of Santa Barbara, and Santa Barbara County both said no. Finally, Elings Park agreed to step up to serve as the agency taking responsibility for fundraising, liability, and maintenance.
This week, the City of Santa Barbara agreed to step up to facilitate a deal involving the Coast Guard, and Elings Park Foundation. Members of Mesa Architects will donate their time to design the park, and a fundraising campaign will pay for it.
Plans call for the blufftop overlook to be called the Kallman Family Overlook.
The Kallmans owned a popular nursery, and founded the Santa Barbara International Orchid Show. Bob and Ruth Kallman were also involved in a number of local community projects. Bob Kallman, who served as a Santa Barbara County Supervisor, served three presidents in environmental agencies.
The daughter of the late couple, Carol Kallman, is stepping up to chair efforts to raise $250,000 to build, and maintain the overlook.
The plan’s boosters are optimistic about the momentum that’s been built, and think the overlook can finally be turned from an idea, into a reality in about a year.