Buena Vista Park Update

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Graphic about Buena Vista Park's grand reopening  

A little history

Amanda and Ezra Morrison, original owners of the 4.03 acres that later became Buena Vista Park, sold the property to the town for $300 in 1897. The property was to be held in trust by James F. Goodwin, P. W. Jones and Walter Elliot until the day when Santa Maria incorporated as a city.

In eyeing the Morrison property, the women of the Ladies Literary Society felt that it had beautiful possibilities. The women held a fund-raising "Calico Ball" in spring of 1903, charging $1 admission, plus 25 cents for a supper, and raised $285.18 for their project.

On the 23rd of April, holding their regular meeting in the park so that they could better decide where to use their money, the ladies decided to plow the grounds and plant trees, shrubs and flowers. To keep their plants watered, they decided to pay $300 for the drilling of a well and install a windmill and tank. However, when the work was completed and they found that the well would not work, the women personally carried water out to the park in their buggies to nourish the young trees and plants that they'd set down.

 Contreras, Shirley. "Buena Vista Park Was Key to the City’s Formation." Santa Maria Times. N.p., 07 Mar. 2009. Web. 18 Jan. 2017.

Read the entire article at


Present day

Buena Vista Park is a center point of a very diverse community.  The bungalows, while still a part of the neighborhood, have been joined by several apartment buildings, social service and educational services buildings – all reflecting the changes that neighborhood and the City of Santa Maria have experienced.  Buena Vista Park was last renovated in 1994, with modest improvements that keep the park functional for the neighborhood.  It continues to be a gathering place for many; the park provides outdoor space for the surrounding community members, youth from the bordering high school, and those served by neighboring social service agencies. 


The Future

While the park has gone through many changes, the year’s renovation will bring Buena Vista Park into the 21st Century, making it a destination not only for the neighborhood, but also for visitors.  A design that incorporates, gardens, trees, grassy play areas, a space for community events, concerts in the park will keep alive the original purpose of Buena Vista Park of being a community gathering place. To educate the community and honor the historical significance of the City of Santa Maria’s first public park, a detailed historic and artistic timeline will be developed and featured at the Morrison Avenue and Pine Street entrance to the park.  Public art will be featured at other locations throughout the park, adding to the new history of Buena Vista Park.   The new park will provide for the community and visitors another 100 years of aesthetic beauty, encourage healthy lifestyles and enhance our urban environment.


Please check back on this web page as the City staff will be updating it as the timeline may change.
Thank you


September – October 2016 – Preconstruction Phase #1

  • Basic tree trimming and removal
  • Sensibly remove any plant material on the construction site, reclaim what is possible.
  • Carefully remove the irrigation system and salvage what can be reused.
  • Install construction signage

Update as of October 26, 2016:

  • Design Plan complete (subject to change)
  • Electric plan complete*
  • Grading plan complete*

*Bid request to be distributed in spring 2017

Thank you to the Buena Vista Beautifiers for making Buena Vista Park a little more beautiful during the holiday time with Charlie Brown Christmas Decoration.


Update as of January 2017:
Construction fence will be set up at the end of Jan and be in place until the end of construction, projected to be Fall of 2017.  The Majority of the park will remain open during daylight hours from February 1 until March 1, 2017.  Until the first part of March, sections of the park will be closed occasionally to allow city crews to salvage and save park equipment. 

On or about March 1, 2017 the entire park will be closed to the public until completion of the project.  Any questions on the project contact James Davis, Parks Manager, (805) 925-0951 ext. 2219.

Update as of April 2017:
Park restroom renovation in progress (see photo).




 Update as of May 2017: Renovated park restroom (see photo).

Buena Vista Park Renovated Bathroom, Buena Vista Park, renovated bathroom, bathroom, park restroom

Update as of July 13, 2017:

The City Council awarded a bid to a contractor, Newton Construction, at its June 20th meeting. The Engineering Division is working to secure all bonds and insurance the that contractor is required to provide.  While this is occurring the contractor is ordering various materials needed for the project.  The contractor should begin on site in mid-August the 1st of September at the latest. 

Winter/Spring 2018: 

Target date for dedication and grand re-opening

Update as of September 7, 2017:

Starting on September 11th, the contractor will be at Buena Vista Park surveying (Surveying is the technique and science of accurately determining the terrestrial or three-dimensional position of points and the distances and angles between them). Starting September 18th, tractors roll in and the process of grading the park will start (Grading in construction is the process of making a level or slope base for different construction works such as foundation for a landscape improvements, surface drainage, basketball courts, and playground equipment).

Update as of October 12, 2017:

The park is fenced off for grading of the land.

Buena Vista park fenced off for grading in October 2017

Update as of December 7, 2017:

Crews are grading and compacting for the basketball courts.  They also are setting up the boundaries for the decomposed granite pathways throughout the park.  City staff met with the electrical contractor to establish where to place additional electrical outlet connections for potential park events.


Buena Vista Park reconstruction wide angle photo 2017

Buena Vista Park construction in 2017

Update as of February 5, 2018:

Hardscape being installed, lighting fixtures up, some tree planting already happening and bathrooms fully renovated.

Buena Vista Park, Buena Vista Park reconstruction 


Update as of February 22, 2018: 

Picture           #1  Front entrance with historical boulder and plaque being installed

                        #2  Walkways being poured to complete the loop around the park

                        #3 Foliage being planted

                        #4 “Stage” area installed

Buena Vista Park reconstruction 

Update as of April 10, 2018: 

Director of Recreation and Parks Alex Posada (second from left) along with several Recreation and Parks Commissioners and staff, take a walk though Buena Vista Park.

 Buenva Vista Park

 Update as of April 18, 2018:
Grand entrance and new performance space at Buena Vista Park

Grand entrance and new performance space at Buena Vista Park 

 Update as of May 23, 2018:
First decorative tile installed at Buena Vista Park

Buena Vista Park Tile, Buena Vista Park

 Update as of August 3, 2018:

The grass is growing strong, and the City is putting on the finishing touches before the Saturday, August 11th grand opening.

Buena Vista Park photo collage August 2018



Art in the park
As part of the new park design the Recreation and Parks Department will be working with local artist to create a visual representation of the parks story.  Ceramic tiles will be created and installed to depict the historical significance of the park and how it was a catalyst for the formation of the City of Santa Maria.

Local Artist Jill Iversen has been selected to paint the history of Buena Vista Park on tiles that will inlaid on the pony-wall as visitors enter the park. Below are 10 of the 12 concepts that were chosen.

Buena Vista Park, art, Jill Iversen


Plant Palette Possibilities

Plant palette being reviewed.
One plant being considered is the Kangaroo Paw: Botanical Name: Anigozanthos ‘x’kangaroo-paws-flowers Orange Cross. Common Name: Orange Cross  Kangaroo Paw. Kangaroo paw is an unusual and special warm-weather perennial that shows off interesting brightly colored, velvety flowers. The buds of this Australian native have an interesting shape and that's where the name kangaroo paw comes from. In addition to being beautiful, kangaroo paw is an excellent, long-lasting flower and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds into the garden. Once established, it's drought tolerant so it doesn’t require watering during every dry spell. (


Society garlic is a clump-forming herbaceous perennial with large clusters of lavender or lilac flowers. The leaves growSociety Garlicl straight up out of a swollen underground rhizome. It blooms sporadically from early summer until late fall. The leaves and rhizomes smell like garlic, but the flowers are sweet-smelling. Society garlic is easy to grow in light, sandy soils. It does best in full sun and will grow in shade, but may not flower much. Established plants can survive extended droughts.

Dwarf Weeping Bottlebrush
DwarfWeepingBottlebrushLittle John is a dwarf, weeping bottlebrush that grows two to four feet' tall and wide. The bright red flowers look like a bottlebrush and attract hummingbirds. Bottlebrush is a perennial shrub that resists pests and diseases, tolerates most well-drained soils, requires little watering and prefers full sun.






Buena Vista Park Drawing - Subject to Modification


 Potential artwork:

Artist Jill Iversen has been working on some sketches for the new history tile work that will be installed at the updatedp park. Here are examples of some of the 12 tiles that will be displayed;

 Jill-Iversen-Art-Scan 3




For information contact the City of Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department (805) 925-0951 ext. 2260