Club plans new park
By Jesse Phelps
While the "Y" shopping
center may be most notable for its variety of local businesses,
striking workers have grabbed much of the attention of late.
Across the way, where the Ojai bike trail heads off toward the
downtown area, there isn't much of anything going on at all.
All that may be about to change. Soon the area may feature an
ornate little park which organizers hope would provide a more
aesthetically pleasing entry into the city and provide amenities
for equestrians, cyclists, walkers, even picnickers.
The Ojai Planning Commission heard an extensive presentation
Wednesday night from a combination of people including Public
Works Director Doug Breeze, Rotary Club of Ojai West representative
Les Gardner and landscape architect Tom Bostrom.
The disparate parties have formed a coalition, of sorts. Though
they haven't all come to full agreement on every detail of the
plan, Bostrom brought a detailed concept design before the commission,
which happily provided an abundance of feedback on various bones
A wall that would surround the park created much of the buzz.
Bostrom's plan showed an undulating, medium-height stone wall,
but Gardner and others said they'd prefer a post-and-rail setup.
Gardner, who owns Attitude Adjustment Shoppe, one of the more
recognizable businesses in at the "Y," cited Cluff
Vista Park in downtown Ojai as an example of what he didn't want
across the street from his store. He said he was "uncomfortable"
with Cluff Vista because on the Ojai Avenue side - the most traversed
side - it looks closed off. With a stone wall around what might
eventually be called Rotary Park, he said, "The people driving
by won't really be able to see it."
The commis-sioners were also divided by the wall.
Craig Brown said he thought it shouldn't stand too high. Chair
Tucker Adams said she considers the wall an "important safety
feature", one that can potentially keep children in the
park out of harm's way. "I think a stone wall is safer than
a post-and-rail fence," she said.
John Mirk agreed, advocating a higher stone wall that would enclose
visitors and offer more privacy. Said Mirk, "Even if the
experience is limited driving by, I'd want another experience
Several times, Breeze mentioned that Cal-Trans require ments
state that the park's elements should not to draw too much attention
from drivers that it would create a safety hazard. Bostrom said
that the purpose of the higher wall would be to adhere to the
Cal-Trans specifications. The groups also seeks Cal-Trans cooperation
in adding wood frames to the corner's traffic signs.
The wall would include a built-in "Welcome to Ojai"
sign. The park would include an equestrian area, potentially
with a trough, a small parking lot, which will eventually include
electric vehicle charging stations, picnic areas and an informational
In addition, the trailhead would be enhanced and the entire intersection
detailed for a better aesthetic. A large metal horse sculpture
has been commissioned and designed for inclusion within the park
by reknown local artist Ted Gall.
Breeze said that utility hookups will be installed underground
for the eventual construction of a bathroom and, possibly, a
concession area. Extra grant money recently discovered will also
allow the designers to include enhanced bridge and shade structures.
Another debated topic was accent lighting. Commissioners Fay
and Mirk expressed a desire to see non-obtrusive, soft lighting
One issue not directly addressed by the commission is Rotary's
desire to name the finished product "Rotary Park."
Gardner said the club has undertaken the project for a special
Rotarians, celebrating their centennial anniversary in 2005,
have a mandate to make a special community contribution as part
of the festivities. As such, they have pledged, said Gardner,
to donate $100,000 for construction plus the caretaking of the
property in perpetuity.
The Ojai Valley News
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