Triangle Restoration Project Complete

By Kelly Mahan Herrick   |   May 16, 2023
Ruth Green with Montecito Community Foundation; Sasha Shebalin and Puck Erickson of Arcadia Studio; Susanne Tobey with the Garden Club of Santa Barbara; and Brian McCague, CEO of Casa Dorinda; all of whom have been instrumental in the Triangle Restoration Project

After a two-year public/private collaboration and with the help of hundreds of donors, the Montecito Community Foundation (MCF) is pleased to announce the impending completion of Montecito’s Triangle Restoration Project: the rejuvenation of the corner of Hot Springs and Olive Mill roads. 

In a few short weeks, “The Triangle” will once again be a beautiful oasis of drought-tolerant, native trees and plantings, returning one of Montecito’s most prominent intersections to a tranquil and verdant setting. This beautification initiative is thanks to a collaboration effort and fundraising through the Montecito Community Foundation. 

The debris flow on Jan. 9, 2018, stripped away most of the vegetation and left the community with a triangle filled with a collection of mud and rocks in what many considered the heart of the debris flow destruction. The County of Santa Barbara made limited improvements, including clearing of the site, installation of curbing and a drainage system, and the granting of a public easement at the site but was unable to fund further improvements. 

“Recognizing the community’s need, the Montecito Community Foundation was able to facilitate this important restoration project that benefits all residents,” said Ruth Green, president of the MCF Board. “I am grateful to the many partner organizations and donors who have enabled this to happen.” 

Several community leaders came together to make the project happen, including Susan Jackson, president of the Garden Club of Santa Barbara, who was instrumental in the coordination of planning, design, and funding support. Puck Erickson, landscape architect and founder of Arcadia Studio provided the conceptual design services, and Casa Dorinda’s management team will provide the plant installation and ongoing maintenance. The Montecito Community Foundation was instrumental in the solicitation and administration of local donations and development of grant funding, and the Montecito Association (MA) was in full cooperation and support, helping to bring awareness of this special project to the entire community. 

The MCF is especially grateful for the significant financial support of the Ann Jackson Family Foundation, WWW Foundation, Susan and Riley Bechtel, Brent Harris, the Brown Family Trust, and Omaha Community Foundation, as well as in-kind sponsors the Garden Club of Santa Barbara, Acadia Studio, Casa Dorinda, MGS Engineering, and the MA. 

“Plantings in the newly restored Triangle will demonstrate how to create something beautiful using waterwise species that can tolerate future drought periods,” according to Jackson. “The Club plans to create a QR code to explain the history of the debris flow and to describe how proper planting, cultivation, and clearing of vulnerable areas can mitigate future danger.” The 1/3-acre space, which used to be flat, is now undulated and features a buffer of Santa Barbara sandstone around prepped soil, which will be planted with various plants in the coming weeks. 

“The call to action resulted in over 300 donations, at all levels of support, stepping up for our community,” said Steve Hicks, MCF board member. “Not only does the restored Triangle bring beauty, but it will also contribute to our community’s demonstrated success in creating multidisciplinary solutions to community challenges.”

For more than 50 years, the Montecito Community Foundation has supported the community by funding projects that help preserve the uniqueness, elegance, and safety of our surroundings. Past and ongoing projects include the construction, installation, and maintenance of Montecito’s rustic wooden road signs; the purchase and landscaping of the Corner Green at the intersection of East Valley and San Ysidro roads; and the replacement and beautification of local bus stops. 

If you wish to join with MCF in support of current or future community projects and activities, visit the MCF website at for further information.


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