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Historic South Coast dance floor originally built for visit by England's Prince George being rebuilt

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KCLU
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Crews are working on the surface for the newly rebuilt Oak Park Dance Floor in Santa Barbara.

Oak Park Dance Floor has hosted thousands of community events over the last 90+ years.

It’s been ground zero for thousands of festivals, and other events on the South Coast for nearly a century.

Now, the City of Santa Barbara’s Oak Park Dance floor is getting a badly needed makeover.

While the dance floor is a popular community gathering place, most people don’t know it’s remarkable history. It was literally built for a visit by British royalty.

"It was originally in Goleta, so it was built in 1926 for a gala to honor England's Prince George," said Rich Hanna, the Recreation Manager for the City of Santa Barbara’s Parks and Recreation Department. "It was later purchased by a farmer, and then donated to the city after 1941."

But, age has caught up with the historic dance floor. For literally decades, minor patches would be made to the raised wooden structure, which looks like an open-air stage.

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KCLU
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The newly rebuilt Oak Park Dance Floor is expected to extend the life of the structure some 30 to 50 years.

Justin Van Mullem is the Capitol Projects Superintendent for Santa Barbara’s Parks and Recreation Department. He says they realized repairs weren’t enough, and that a restoration project was needed.

"For many years, they tried marine-grade plywood, they tried different thicknesses of plywood, they would just replace different patches of plywood, different glues," said Mullem. "Nothing seemed to give us a fix."

After surveying the project, it was determined it would cost a little over $100,000, and take about six months. Work started in February, and the goal is to have the dance floor ready for use around Memorial Day weekend.

Van Mullem says the renovation project will return the dance floor to new condition, instead of being yet another temporary fix.

The project will insure that people will be dancing away on the dance floor for it’s 100th anniversary, in 2026. The floor will need a new finish every five years, but it’s expected the work will mean the historic structure will be in good shape, and usable for another 30 to 50 years.