Groundbreaking starts new chapter for Plaza del Mar Band Shell in Santa Barbara

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California Construction News staff writer

Construction is underway to renovate the Plaza del Mar Band Shell, a designated City Landmark initially built in 1919. The City of Santa Barbara parks and recreation department marked the occasion Aug. 16 with a groundbreaking event.

“This renovation is a testament to Santa Barbara’s commitment to honoring its past while investing in its vibrant future,” said Mayor Randy Rowse.  “This isn’t just about revitalizing a historic landmark; it’s about creating a space where people of all ages, backgrounds, and interests can come together and feel a deep sense of community pride.”

The full-scale renovation includes structural repairs to the building frame, replacement of the roof and wood stage, installation of full electrical service, restoration of the original stage lighting, and construction of an accessible pathway and ramp leading to the stage. The renovation will restore the venue’s long-standing tradition of hosting concerts, performances, festivals, and other cultural gatherings in one of Santa Barbara’s oldest parks.

“This project is about creating a space where art, music, culture, and community events can flourish,” said Parks and Recreation Director Jill Zachary. “We’re breathing new life into a park that once was the community’s primary waterfront gathering place but has long been underutilized.”

The site is expected to reopen in 2024.

Funding for the project includes $800,000 in federal funding, $275,000 in city funds, a $177,000 grant from the California Department of Parks and Recreation, and $55,500 in private funding.

More information about the renovation and future programming can be found at SantaBarbaraCA.gov/BandShell.

Efforts to restore another historic outdoor venue, the Alameda Park Bandstand, are underway and expected to wrap later this summer.

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