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College Park Phase 1C Opens

The City of Oxnard celebrated the opening of Phase 1C at College Park on Rose Avenue next to Oxnard College. Pictured here are (L to R): Mayor Tim Flynn, Councilmember Dorina Padilla, Parks Commissioner Paul Lemos, General Services Superintendent Michael Henderson, Parks Commissioner Gloria Postel, former City Councilmember Bedford Pinkard, Councilmember Bryan MacDonald, and Interim City Manager Karen Burnham. (Photo Credit: Tim Pompey)

By Tim Pompey

The third phase of construction at College Park was dedicated with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, June 12. It followed six years of construction on an area that encompasses 75 acres of community park land next door to Oxnard College and includes several athletic fields, snack bars, restrooms, picnic areas, waterways, and walkways.

The ceremony was attended by many local civic, city, and business supporters who have been involved in the planning of the park.

For general services superintendent Michael Henderson, the completion of the soccer fields will have a major impact on the community. “I think the community is going to really appreciate this once they get the opportunity to play on them,” he said. “We’ve been working on it for a long time and I think everybody in the community is excited about having them open to the public.”

City council member Bryan MacDonald, who has watched this project come to fruition over the last 13 years, expressed his amazement at the final product. “I just love this park,” he said. “We’ve worked at phasing this in over the years and to see what it was when I first came here as a facility compared to what it is now, it’s just a beautiful enhancement to the whole community.”

Mayor Tim Flynn was impressed by the size and scope of this project. “I don’t think there’s anything that I can think of anywhere that’s ever been here in the city that’s this extensive, especially when it comes to soccer fields,” he noted.

Council member Dorina Padilla remarked on the difference in this area compared to when she was growing up. “College Park was a park,” she said, “but we never really came and played here. But with the basketball courts and playgrounds, and now the soccer fields, it’s great to see what the city has done with this park area.”

The idea for a city park area began in 2000 when the city attained control of the park from the county of Ventura. The city took several years to plan the project and designed it to be completed in two phases:  Phase 1 and Phase 2.

In 2007, construction was completed on Phase 1A, which included the northwest play structure, the parking lots, restrooms, the basketball courts, and a new perimeter road.

In 2009, Phase 1B, which included the volleyball courts, the northwest parking lot, and the addition of perimeter roads, was finished.

The completion of Phase 1C primarily encompasses five high-end lighted professional fields with state-of-the-art drainage systems, a large detention pond, a maintenance building, and an equipment storage yard.

For interim city manager Karen Burnham, she found it hard to sum up her excitement about Phase 1C’s completion. “It’s very difficult for me to stand here and see touch and feel what we just saw on a drawing. You always envision something in your head and you say ‘Oh, that looks nice,’ but this looks nicer than I could ever have envisioned.”

Former city council member Bedford Pinkard thinks that having College Park available for local youth sports is particularly important. “I’m a sports fan,” he said, “especially youth sports. I think it’s one of the tools to keep our young people on the straight and narrow road.”

But while Pinkard celebrates the completion of Phase 1C, he acknowledged that there is more work to be done—the completion of Phase 2. “I’m glad to see this phase completed and I think it’s been a long time coming, but I also look forward to the next phase, which is seeing the baseball and softball fields completed.”

Interim Parks Manager Ralph Alamillo stated that the development of the 25 acres designated for Phase 2 still remains on the drawing board. “We need direction from the city council,” he stated, “and currently there’s no funding available for this project.”

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