Ebell Park: Irrigation plan focus of Design Assistance Committee
Published:  March 08, 2017

Ebell Park was the focus of discussion by the Design Assistance Committee at the February 2 meeting.

The committee is comprised of Planning Commissioner Ike Ikerd, Marilyn Appleby, Committee President Judy Triem, Sheryl Hamlin and Karen Djernaes, who was unable to attend.

On the table was the Ebell Park irrigation improvement project with the committee reviewing the public works project and discussing the historic relevance of the park, established 100 years ago, with the architects, Howard Leach and Mike Gilbert. 

Several members of the public attended, as did James Mason, Deputy Planning Director and Mitch Stone, representing the interests of Santa Paula Rotary and the Santa Paula Theater Center, which occupies the former Ebell Clubhouse.

Recreation Director Ed Mount told the committee the city received a grant for park improvements including irrigation at Ebell Park, not upgraded since the 1960s. 

Mount said the city would also add a walking path to the park, located at the corner of East Main and 7th streets, and drought tolerant plants on the perimeter.

Howard Leach of Leach Mounce Architects said knowing the park is an important part of the process but no major changes will be made.

Triem noted that the park and building are on the National Register: “The landscape has changed over time, growing things not always stay in place,” and when the city took over the property prior to the 1940s the pond and bridge, considered a nuisance, was removed.

Famed architects Hunt & Burns who also designed the Ebell Clubhouse designed the park, an “important backdrop to the Santa Paula Theater Center”.

The Rotary Club took on the park as a centennial project a decade ago said Stone. 

“We planted additional trees to replace those lost,” and due to the drought and lack of maintenance planted some twice.

Rotary also reconstructed the pergola in its original location, a structure said Stone that was taken down at some unspecified time.

All work at the park was based on original plans and photos.

The SPTC is on a separate parcel and has occupied the building for about 30 years: “We’ve had a long ongoing relationship with the park, it’s at our front door,” and Stone said there have been issues with maintaining theater landscaping due to children using the park for soccer.

A wrought iron fence was installed that helped, he added.

“The landscape is the setting for this building,” and having the park become “more of an active use park is an ongoing issue for the theater.”

Noise disrupts performances at times and Stone said the park should be used more for passive activities. 

At least one speaker asked if there was consideration of removing the lawn or using artificial turf and learned there was not.

The subject will be revisited in the future.




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