Plaza project on course for
Ojai Day finish
by C.A. Gilman
Ojai merchants met with city officials Thursday morning at
the Nordhoff Hall at the Offices at the Pew for an update on
the Arcade Plaza redevelopment project.
City Redevelopment Analyst Kathy McCann, the project coordinator
for the project, Project Manager and City Liaison Neva Williams,
Public Works Director Stan Hakes; Community Development Director
Robert Casias and Ojai Police Chief Gary Pentis presented an
overview of the project, answered questions and asked for input
from the store owners and professionals in the audience.
McCann said, "Thanks for everything. You have been great
and put up with our mess, but it will be worth it! And I'm happy
to announce that we are on time despite the original underwater
utility issues that took additional work to ensure the area wouldn't
be affected in the future.
"There's been a lot more excitement as the bricklaying has
begun and the beautiful tile work is going up. Most of the work
will be done by Ojai Day on Oct. 19. The artwork should come
next week. The new art pedestal behind Bonnie Lu's is 90 percent
complete and the wood work for the new information kiosk is in
The Arcade Plaza project team has been communicating their efforts
to the merchants and community since before construction began.
From their office at the project site in Ojai Realty, to weekly
ads in the local newspaper, to the Arcade Plaza Web site and
weekly merchant information bulletins, a full page ad in the
Ojai Valley Summer Visitors' Guide, to plans for the Ojai Day
ribbon cutting event.
"We are hoping that the passthrough for those with doors
that open onto the plaza will be completed by Sept. 23. By Ojai
Day, all but east alley improvements and some landscaping will
be done. We plan that those will be completed by Nov. 15."
Project Manager Williams said, "It is really to soon to
tell if they'll all be done by that date."
There was discussion about trash pick up, additional recycling
bins, public restrooms, safety measures, signs for merchants
off Ojai Avenue, skateboarding, and parking regulations and enforcement.
Hakes distributed copies of maps of downtown Ojai with recommended
parking restrictions. Everyone agreed to increase two-hour parking
areas to three so that customers would have enough time to do
their shopping and eat. The parking lot between Aliso and Matilija
will become regulated for all-day parking so that business owners
and employees would have places to park and wouldn't need to
occupy the spaces and lots closest to the shops.
The restrooms will be maintained and locked at night by city
There was some discussion of vagrants and car burglaries. Capt.
Pentis asked that the merchants call when they see problems.
"We need to hear from you as soon as you can."
Community Development Director Casias announced that he would
be hiring a code compliance officer to help with enforcement
so that they can maintain the city's high standards. He said
his department wanted to work with them on changes that they
want to see.
All agreed with Neva Williams suggestion for a public drop-off
area for recyclables so that residents wouldn't need to use the
merchants' recycling bins.
© 2002 The Ojai Valley News
Back to the news