By Chris Frost
Oxnard—Campus Park behind the old Oxnard High School location on K Street is run down and unused, but the city is taking steps to remedy that situation and is applying for an $8.5 million grant from the State Parks Program Grant to reactivate the space.
The community will play a vital role in the park’s future, as the city is holding community workshops to gather input and make the best choices possible for Oxnard residents.
The next two workshops will be held July 13 from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. and July 17 from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the Oxnard PAL Teen Center, located at 350 S. K Street from
City of Oxnard Grant Specialist Eric Humel said the grant amount is small, but it will get the park reactivated.
“Some of the feedback we are hearing is parking lot improvements, access improvements, and walking trails around the park so that people will have access,” he said. “There is a small dog park in the southeast corner, and that’s all that’s there.”
Some of the feedback Humel has received from residents is to expand the dog park, or perhaps move the park elsewhere and expand the area.
“Those are some options we are considering,” he said.
The Parks and Recreation Master Plan is being finalized, he said, and one goal in the future is soccer fields at College Park.
“At Campus Park, it will be prioritized for full-time use, like passive recreation, and a little active stuff too as a possibility,” he said. “It could be multi-use fields that can be used for picnicking and informal soccer practice.”
The Oxnard Recreation Division and the PAL are involved in the process, Humel said, so that finished plan will consider their needs.
The park is approximately 40 acres, so the grant will activate the space, if received, and will serve as phase one.
“We asked the city council for permission to go forward with this application,” he said. “The grant application is due Aug. 5, so we should hear if we got it this fall or winter.”
Humel said many spaces in the city would benefit from such funding, and city staff had many discussions before settling on Campus Park.
“One of the main criteria for the grant selection process is evaluating the area’s needs as an economically disadvantaged neighborhood and also as a park deficient neighborhood,” he said. We didn’t have that many sites to go for that meet that criteria. It’s surprising because some of the most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods are park deficient.”
So far, the community input has been excellent, and Humel and his team have been able to create some great mapping opportunities and do some design work with architects.
“We’re synthesizing those into the final three options, and the last two workshops will focus on which option they want to select,” he said. “It will be a two or three phase process, and we’ll need additional funding to complete these improvements.”
Once they’re done with the community workshops, the ideas will be blended into a conceptual design for the park.
“The first workshop was an education and small group discussions that summarizes all that input into some major themes,” Humel said. “In the third and fourth workshops, we’ll turn these themes with public participation into specific improvements that they’ll want to see.”
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