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Chumash Cultural Project at Ambassador Park

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Jill Zachary
Parks and Recreation Director
(805) 564-5430

Project Location


Located along Santa Barbara’s waterfront between West Cabrillo Boulevard and West Mason Street, Ambassador Park consists of a palm-tree lined, half-acre open turf area, a vestige of its history as the pedestrian promenade to the Potter and then Ambassador Hotels. The land was gifted to the City in 1924 and the Park designated a City Landmark in 1990. Prior to European contact and subsequent development, the Park site and surrounding land featured a hillock, creek, springs, and mineral pools which supported the historic Syuxtun Village, the largest Chumash village on the west coast. The hillock known as ‘Burton’s Mound’, California Historical Landmark No. 306 located in the Park’s northeast corner, commemorates the Native American village. 

The City of Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Department is working in partnership with the California Coastal Conservancy and Chumash community members to develop conceptual design plans for the redevelopment of Ambassador Park to celebrate and honor Chumash cultural heritage and improve access and usage of the park. Design elements are based on site location and environmental and cultural resource constraints. The draft conceptual plan seeks to maintain openness, enhance views, foster passive recreational uses through walking paths, provide a gathering place, and promote greater understanding of Chumash history and culture through park elements, interpretive panels and landscaping. 

Currently in the draft conceptual design phase, the next steps include sharing the project through community open houses and presenting the conceptual plan to the Historic Landmarks Commission and the Parks and Recreation Commission.