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Fields Forever 3 Campaign is Rounding 3rd!

The Fields Forever 3 Capital Campaign at Girsh Park, will build a very important Fieldhouse to support the 4,000 families in our youth sports programs.  We are now at a critical point where we must raise another $83,000 in the next thirty days to begin construction.  Our goal is to open the new facility by Dos Pueblos Little League’s Opening Day in early March of 2015.

After a very generous $50,000 pledge from our contractor, Allen Associates, and a $50,000 grant from Williams-Corbett Foundation, we are thrilled to announce that we have raised $517,000 over the last 16 months.  We need to reach $600,000 to begin Phase I of construction.  Phase I will build much needed restrooms, storage, proper ADA sidewalks, major drainage improvements, utility upgrades, and we will replace our out-of-date playground.  The restrooms are vitally important for programs such as Dos Pueblos Little League and AYSO Region 122.  Most of all, children of special-needs in our adaptive sports programs desperately need accessible restrooms to make their experience more pleasant when they come out to play ball.  These programs include DP Challengers, AYSO’s VIP Program, Challengers Flag Football, as well as Special Olympics Soccer Tournaments.

We are looking for community heroes to complete our campaign.  All donations make a difference, and get us closer to our goal.  We have several very exciting naming opportunities including the Fieldhouse, Batting Cages, Group Picnic Area, and Playground.  The 350,000 people that use Girsh Park each year will greatly appreciate your contribution to this very important community project.

With the community’s support, the Foundation for Girsh Park successfully completed Fields Forever 1 and 2.  With your help today, Fields Forever 3 will be a homerun!


You can also call us for more details (805) 968-2773 x3


Even in Drought, Girsh Park is Green

With the recent drought declarations by the County of Santa Barbara, and the State of California, Girsh Park remains focused on conserving our precious water resources.  The idea of conserving water has been a major goal at Girsh Park since the park opened in 1999.  All of the grass surfaces and landscaped areas are, and have been, irrigated with reclaimed water since the opening.  This forward thinking has resulted in our fields remaining green, even through these harsh drought years.  We have voluntarily taken several measures to continue to reduce the use of the reclaimed water.  Not only does this help our local water supply, but it also helps the park save money each year.  As a very unique 501 (c)(3) non-profit park, each and every dollar is precious to our operation.

In order to decrease water use and increase soccer at Girsh Park, we installed a state-of the-art synthetic turf soccer field in 2008.  Girsh-Hochman Field, named after our generous benefactors, requires no water, no mowing, no pesticides or herbicides, and can be utilized 7 days a week 365 days a year.  The water savings alone on this field made it worth the approximate $500,000 price of installation.  More synthetic turf fields should be installed throughout the county to keep up with soccer demand, and to save on maintenance costs.

Additionally, we are constantly improving on our irrigation systems and drainage to function better, and to use less water.  Kitson Landscape, Girsh Park’s landscape contractor, has been working diligently to fix broken sprinklers, capping sprinklers that are unnecessary, and has been reducing the amount of sprinkler run time over the last several years.  The result has been less water use, less days of soggy or muddy fields, and better playing conditions for the Park’s 350,000 annual users.

Another water saving approach has been to embrace the once frowned upon kikuyu grass.  Most lawn enthusiasts look down upon the use of kikuyu grass.  Girsh Park has embraced it, because of its resiliency to high traffic, high growth rate during the warmest seasons, and most of all its need for less water compared to the more popular grass species.  We have been periodically seeding fields with kikuyu over the last two years and have experienced much success.  In addition to seed, we have also found that transplanting Kikuyu sod from unused patches in the park results in rapid growth, and spreading of the sod particularly in the summer months.  We have discovered that we are our own small Kikuyu sod farm within the park, and we will continue to transplant this grass until each section of the park is dominated by kikuyu.

Finally, we have replaced all of our unreliable and inefficient spay irrigation in the perimeter landscaped areas with low emitting drip irrigation.  The new drip systems have allowed our landscape irrigation to deliver water directly on the plants, where water is necessary.  This increases efficiency and decreases the use of water in these planted areas.  The perimeter is now thriving without the need for high volumes of water.

With all of these carefully thought out approaches, Girsh Park continues to be open to the public year round without sacrificing the quality of the facility.  The fields will stay green, and the users will continue to experience the benefits of our water-wise approach to maintaining the fields at Girsh Park.

Ruelene FF2 Donation 2008
Girsh Park Announces Major Gifts

by: Erin Graffy


The Board of Directors of Girsh Park have announced major gifts totaling $295,000 to date, essentially half of their $600,000 goal for the Field Forever 3 Campaign at Girsh Park. Especially poignant was a bequest of $100,000 provided from the estate of Ruelene Hochman who was the daughter and only child of Dr. Lester and Viola Girsh, the lead benefactors of the Park.“The board was really touched by this,” said Ryan Harrington, “When Ruelene passed away last August, the Park had lost a very dear friend, and someone who had been a strong supporter since the park’s very first opening days. But even in her passing, we were heartened to find Ruelene was continuing to provide for Girsh Park. Her bequest is being applied to our Field Forever 3 Campaign. Her contribution, together with a gift of $30,000 from the Hutton Foundation (through their Core Support Grant Program), we have jumped to nearly half our goal of  $600,000 for that campaign.”

The park originally opened as “Camino Real Park” in 1999. It was named the Lester A. and Viola S. Girsh Park, shortly after Ruelene and the Girsh and Hochman Families gave over $2,000,000 to start an endowment for the Park. Before the Camino Real Marketplace was developed, the property had been previously owned by Dr. and Mrs. Girsh who allowed Little League baseball and other youth sports to use the field. Previous contributions by the Girsh and Hochman families included a  $550,000 donation to Fields Forever 2 to install synthetic turf for the “Girsh-Hochman Soccer Field” Created as a a non-profit park for the community, Girsh Park provides a significant array of youth and adult sports and other recreational activities for the Goleta Valley. “Girsh Park subsidizes youth and adult recreation programs, so they can rent field space at a very affordable rate, and in turn, making these activities very affordable for families.” explained executive director Ryan Harrington. “We are able to sustain our programs through fundraising, support from the City of Goleta, and the park’s endowment. Without this support our fees would be much higher for the users.”

Girsh Park subsidizes youth baseball and soccer in the ballpark of $100,000 per year. Organizations such as Dos Pueblos Little League, AYSO, Santa Barbara Soccer Club, and US Youth Volleyball League, take advantage of low cost facilities for their programs. This also includes programs for special needs children such as Challengers Baseball, VIP Soccer, Special Olympics Programs, and Challengers Flag Football. Ruelene’s bequest of $100,000 will be directed toward Girsh Park’s latest campaign, Fields Forever 3 Capital Campaign to create a Field House and park improvements. A Field House will provide much needed restrooms, a concession stand and storage.An upgraded batting cage, new walking paths, new playgrounds and better accessibility for disabled park users will also be implemented. Another important consideration are the programs for special-needs children, including DP Challengers Baseball, Challengers Flag Football and the AYSO VIP program. Daniel Hochman, son of Ruelene Hochman articulated the family’s intent. “The family’s goal for Girsh Park is to provide open recreational space and great sports programming for the youth of Goleta and surrounding communities,” he explained, “Our dream is that it always remains affordable and sustainable and that the community continues to recognize the value of the park to families, and to support the Park for future generations.”

Ruelene Hochman (center) and her son Daniel Hochan gives a $550,000 pledge to Kim Schizas of Girsh Park in support the Fields Forever 2 Capital Campaign in 2008.


Girsh Park restroom Trailer
Major Gift from the Girsh and Hochman Families Launches Fields Forever 3 Capital Campaign

Girsh Park is asking the community to help improve the facilities at the Lester A. and Viola S. Girsh Park with the new Fields Forever 3 Capital Campaign. This campaign will help better support the existing programs at Girsh Park, including Dos Pueblos Little League, AYSO soccer, DP Challengers and AYSO’s VIP Soccer Program, to name a few. Each of these nonprofit organizations has partnered to attain the goals of the Fields Forever 3 (FF3) Capital Campaign.

FF3 will build a field house in the Elings Fields Complex to support the programs that use those fields. The field house will contain a full-service concession stand, restrooms and storage for the programs to utilize. Among the most important driving factors for this new campaign are the programs for special-needs children. The programs include DP Challengers, Challengers Flag Football and the AYSO VIP program. All children deserve a facility that fulfills their needs and allows them to participate in their favorite sports. This campaign will create better ADA access with proper walking paths, fully accessible restrooms, picnic areas and ball fields.

Girsh Park users currently utilize a portable restroom trailer generously furnished by MarBorg Industries. MarBorg answered the call for help three years ago when Dos Pueblos Little League and Girsh Park reached out to the community for a solution. This trailer is very temporary, and it is time to replace it with a permanent solution.

In addition to the field house, a covered group picnic area will be installed, the batting cage facility will be dramatically improved, ADA walking paths will be installed along with path lighting, the electrical capacity for the complex will be updated, and proper security cameras and lights will be installed to ensure the safety of users.

The original playground will be replaced with two modern age-appropriate playgrounds. The foundation believes the playgrounds will be a focal point for the park and utilized by children of all ages. All of these improvements will make Girsh Park a better place for the community to recreate.

The fundraising goal for Fields Forever 3 is $600,000. The campaign and construction are expected to be completed over the next 18 months. Several naming opportunities are available for the field house, group picnic area, batting cage and playground. The naming opportunities will be noticeable for the 350,000 people who use Girsh Park every year, giving campaign donors the recognition they deserve.

Two initial donations have officially kicked off the campaign. The Girsh and Hochman families have once again stepped up to the plate and donated $150,000 to FF3. Without the support of the Girsh and Hochman families, Girsh Park would not be what it is today. They have continually supported the park, and once again are assisting to make Girsh Park a better place for the community. Additionally, Dos Pueblos Little League has donated $10,000 to the campaign.

The Fields Forever Campaigns over the last decade have yielded significant net community benefit by improving the facilities at Girsh Park. In 2005, the original Fields Forever Campaign raised $6 million to purchase the 13-acre parcel at Phelps and Pacific Oaks roads. The facility was named Elings Fields at Girsh Park for the park’s most generous benefactors. This purchase permanently located the baseball fields that Dos Pueblos Little League so desperately needed, and increased the size of the park to 25 acres.

In 2008, the Fields Forever 2 Campaign raised $1.25 million to install a state-of-the-art synthetic turf soccer field. Girsh-Hochman Field, named once again after the foundation’s most generous donors, now allows year-round play with little maintenance.

With the community’s support, the Foundation for Girsh Park completed Fields Forever 1 and 2. With the community’s help, Fields Forever 3 will be a home run. To become a sponsor, donor, or find out more information about FF3 contact Ryan Harrington, Executive Director (805) 968-2773 x3 or

Girsh Park is Goleta’s Park!

When it comes to parks in Goleta, Girsh Park is the only park that serves the critical need for active recreation in the entire Goleta Valley.  To many residents, Girsh Park is one of the most important aspects of their everyday lives.  Everyday day at Girsh Park walkers of all ages stroll along the parks many paths, dog lovers and their four-legged companions romp in the acres of grass, teenagers and children play soccer and baseball on the fields and diamonds, and pickup games are an hourly occurrence on the basketball courts.

The Foundation for Girsh Park serves more than 350,000 people just like you every year. Our mission is to develop, maintain and enhance Lester A. Viola S. Girsh Park to provide all community members with affordable, high quality park and recreational facilities in a safe, attractive and healthy environment.

We serve the young and the young at heart through an array of programs and activities.  Girsh Park is the home of Dos Pueblos Little League, DPLL Challengers, AYSO Soccer, Central Coast Soccer League, Santa Barbara Women’s Soccer Organization, Foresters Baseball Camp, Full Count Fundamentals Baseball, Santa Barbara Lacrosse Association, G-Land Baseball, US Youth Volleyball League, and the list goes on and on.

Girsh Park is also the home to an array of community events throughout the year.  The 4th of July Fireworks Festival, the California Lemon Festival, The Goleta Egg Hunt, Wag N’ Whiskers Festival, and many more are held at Girsh Park.  You can also hold parties, picnics, weddings, barbeques and special events at Girsh Park.

Unlike most parks, we are not owned or operated by the city, county or state. We are a 501(c) (3) non-profit foundation. Our mission is to develop, maintain and enhance Lester A. and Viola S. Girsh Park to provide all community members with affordable, high quality, park and recreational facilities in a safe, attractive and healthy environment.  Our community partners such as Marborg Industries, Cottage Health Systems, City of Goleta, Montecito Bank and Trust, Camino Real Marketplace, and individual donors like you help to keep the Park open to the public year round.  Girsh Park is a wonderful example of a very successful public/private partnership focused on providing recreational facilities and opportunities for the community.

As you can see there is something for everyone at Girsh Park.  To find out more information about our programs, facilities, or to make a donation to Girsh Park, please visit or call Executive Director Ryan Harrington at (805) 968-2773 x3.

Upcoming Events

On Sunday August 10, C.A.R.E.4Paws hosted its fourth annual Wags n’ Whiskers Festival at Girsh Park in Goleta. The event—the largest adoption festival in Santa Barbara County—featured adoptable dogs, cats and bunnies from 24 animal shelters and rescue groups and showcased a wide range of local pet service providers and animal welfare groups. Just like [...]

Lemon fest 2012 Logo

For the past 20 years, the Lemon Festival has been the biggest celebration in the Goleta area and it keeps getting better each year.

Egg Hunt Stampede

On April 19th, the fields at Girsh Park will be filled with a thousand children eager to join the fun in the 5th annual Goleta Egg Hunt at Girsh Park. 10,000 eggs will litter six different age appropriate fields with candy, toys, and prizes inside. Several magic eggs will be hidden containing certificates to host [...]

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