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Public Ping Pong in Santa Barbara

SB Central Library Plaza

The loss of redevelopment funds has saved two city plazas from renovation, De la Guerra and the open area outside of the Santa Barbara Central Library. With plaza re-designs scrapped, a variety of citizen-generated ideas are popping up to improve the spaces. One idea specifically for the library plaza, uncovered by the Independent, calls for an outdoor ping pong table.

“People of good will and like mind tend to congregate – specially when an opportunity like ping pong is directly in their path,” reads the website for Public Ping Pong Santa Barbara. “Results are positive, fun and spontaneous. Areas that historically may have attracted social problems can be turned around by this simple principle. Our first proposed location, the lawn at the Santa Barbara Public Library, is in need of just this sort of shift.”

The idea for an outdoor ping pong table in the Santa Barbara Central Library plaza will purportedly be presented to the library board later this month.

5 Responses to “Public Ping Pong in Santa Barbara”

  1. William Munny

    Great idea! That ping pong table looks like perfect shelter for some of the homeless that live in that plaza.

    The notion that we’re going to put in a ping pong table that is going to attract crowds and drive away the homeless is absurd. If that is what is supposed to happen, why are there so many homeless people on State Street? Sorry, but the crowds don’t drive away the homeless……the homeless drive away the crowds. That is why fewer and fewer locals shop down on State Street and why the tourists numbers have been declining in recent years. The word is out about Santa Barbara and it isn’t pretty……

  2. Jim G

    I vote for public tetherball! Had so much fun as a kid playing, and met so many new people! plus the added bonus of the ropes, so if anyone wants to hang themselves, it is very convenient (now that the barrier is up on the bridge)

  3. Anonymous

    Better yet just put a policeman there!

  4. It’s worth consideration, instead of knee-jerk rejection. Have a look at the website of the manufacturer of the “sculptural table”:

    At first I thought it was a preposterous idea, and thought only about the problem people sleeping, sprawling, loitering, smoking etc. all over the grassy area who might discourage others from enjoying the ping pong opportunity. But then I thought, maybe the new library monitors will make sure that at least when the library is open, nothing but ping pong happns on the table. Maybe employees of the library and surrounding offices will come over for lunchtime fun. Maybe students will come after school or weekends to play, since there is something to do. I can see the potential. And the fellow promised to uninstall it after a year if it doesn’t work out. So now I’m basically favorable. Anything to change what goes on in “the pit” is worth considering — how about making it a non smoking area, too?

    • How about making all public spaces non-smoking? Second hand smoke is not only stinky, it is dangerous to those who breathe it. It’s absurd that the beaches, the parks, and the State Street corridor subject non-smokers to the stench of selfish tobacco (and pot) addicts. This city is far behind the curve in that respect. Despite the propaganda, it’s not about smokers’ rights – it’s about non-smokers’ self-defense.