Our Current Project

A Walk in the Park

The Friends of Waller Park are working to improve your walk in the park by installing a new one and half mile loop walking trail that traverses through some of the most scenic areas of Waller Park.  Sharing the road with cars has been the only option until now and we are excited to bring access to areas of the park that have not been available in the past. The first phase has been completed and we are looking forward to moving on to the next two proposed phases.

Meet the Team

Friends of Waller Park is comprised of volunteers dedicated to the continual development and beautification of the park. Get to know our talented team.


George Johnston


George has been on the Board since 2008. His family (Ruiz), goes back to the 1700s in Santa Barbara County. Remembering his childhood, he recalls seeing the buffalo, monkeys, and peacocks in the park. He, is a retired Human Resources Administrator, soccer referee, and private pilot. He and his wife, Barbara, enjoy traveling and visiting with their two daughters and grandchildren. She is a retired Teacher from Santa Maria High School. George graduated from Santa Maria High School and Cal Poly. He was a Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica for two years. George and Barbara enjoy taking walks in the Park, and live only a short distance away.


Penny Duran

Vice- Chair

As a local business owner and on the board for Friends of Waller Park for approximately 2 years. Resided in Santa Maria since 1993 and developed an instant love for the Santa Maria Valley.
Waller Park is a place for my family to relax and enjoy the walking paths, duck pond, disc golf, stop for a hot dog and shave ice.  California Hotdog has a friendly hometown feel to the Santa Maria locals and visitors.

Denise Valente


Denise Valente has been a member of the Friends Of Waller Park board since 2011.

She was born and raised in Michigan and enjoyed being surrounded by lakes and lush green trees.  She and her husband Jim made Santa Maria their home in 1984 and raised both of their sons: James and Kevin in Santa Maria.  They have many fond memories of Waller Park during the time the boys were growing up. Today, their son James enjoys playing Frisbee golf in the park and introduces anyone he can to the sport.

After 34 years as a Financial Advisor with Ameriprise Financial Denise retired and isenjoying a slower pace lifestyle.  Walks in the park are on her agenda every Monday and Friday morning.

She remains involved in the community and is currently an executive board member of the Marian Medical Foundation Board.

She wants Waller Park to continue to be a special place where everyone in our community can gather to enjoy family and friends and experience a bit of tranquility.


Justin Lieberman


Having been born and raised on the Central Coast, Justin profoundly values the role Waller Park plays in the Santa Maria Valley Comunity. Having attended schools in Orcutt, his earliest memories of the park are those of a young, enthusiastic 4th grader. Justin served his community as a former EMT and Firefight. He continues his service as a Director of Friends of Waller Park, Waller Park Disc Golf Tournament Director, and local small business owner.


Mary Lou Los


Born and raised in Monterey Calif.   Became a teacher and taught for three years until I married a naval officer and traveled and moved often,  I have four very successful and wonderful children.
I continue to work in the travel business as a cruise/tour specialist.  I continue to travel and enjoy the world with my loved ones.


Karolyn Addington


Right after WWII her family went to Cairo, Egypt where she attended elementary school, then high school in Sao Paulo, Brazil followed by college at Kansas State College.

The outdoors has always been her favorite place. Such events as taking her Girl Scout troops for a cookout to large family gatherings and church barbecues the favorite location is always Waller Park.

Living a couple blocks from the park has always been her families go to place for 50 years. This all encouraged her to want to be on the Waller Park Board of Directors to keep and improve this wonderful outdoor space for generations to come.

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Mark Huerth


Born in South Gate, California moved to Orcutt, California in early 1980. Raised 5 children brought them up in the Orcutt School District. Now we have 10 Grandchildren ages ranging from 2 to 21. Retired from Federal Law Enforcement after 22 years. Have volunteered in some way all my adult life. Volunteered with the Santa Maria Boys and Girls Club for over 20 years, Board member of Orcutt American Little League for 7 years. I was a Board member of Orcutt Children’s Arts Foundation (OCAF) for 6 years. Board member of Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum 4 years. Was on the Santa Barbara County Grand Jury for 1 year and 9 months. Presently volunteering with Your Children’s Trees, planting trees in Northern Santa Barbara County including Waller Park. Board member of Central Coast Beach Boardwalkers. Also Board member of Measure G bond Over-site Committee with the Orcutt School District.

Waller Park was started in 1928 With a gift from Santa Maria Country Club of 77 acres then growing to approximately 144 acres. “Let’s be caretakers of this wonderful gift for all future generations.”

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Celeste Coelho- Hudson



Martin Villescas

Park Ranger

I started my career 29 years ago here at Waller Park as a park ranger. I also spent a portion of my career working at Lake Cachuma. I returned to Waller Park In the year 2001 and have been here ever since. I grew up in Carpinteria Ca. then migrated to Orcutt back in the mid-1980s.
When I first arrived at the Santa Maria Valley I stumbled upon this Beautiful tree covered park and I thought to myself how could I be a part of this community? …… long story short I was fortunate enough to get hired with the Santa Barbara County Parks Department, settled in Orcutt and never looked back. I raised three beautiful children and have been content ever since.
I have been working with the Friends of Waller Park since the year 2001 as a liaison for the county and strive every day to keep Waller Park the jewel of Santa Barbara County.

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Esmeralda Mendoza


Esmeralda has been the Coordinator of Waller Park since April 2017. Her background is in Human Resource Management and Small Business Development. Currently she works as the Director of Operations of Art Craft Paint Inc. Having served on numerous boards over the years such as Adelante Mujer Hispana, Santa Maria Girls Softball, Family Parent Collaborative, and The Latino Business Council,  she is proud to be a part of Friends of Waller Park and the enormous contribution this group performs in the development and maintenance of Waller Park and Waller Pines Disc Golf Course. Having been born and raised in Santa Maria, and having her childhood home just blocks away from Waller Park her childhood is filled with wonderful memories of bike riding to the park on Saturdays, to chase the squirrels, and feed the ducks. Waller Park has been an Oasis to hers and many families providing beautiful heaven to explore, celebrate, and relax. Esmeralda is excited for the upcoming projects Friends of Waller Park is undertaking and the continual improvement of the park.  Bio coming soon

Donate Now

All donations are used for the improvement projects underway at Waller Park, including the development of the walking path around the park. The walking path is currently in phase two, the expected completion date in December of 2017.