By Chris O'Neal 01/30/2014
Kellogg Park enters community design planning phase
The residents of west Ventura are one step closer to building the park of their dreams.The site on the corner of North Ventura Avenue and Kellogg Street was once the home to an industrial shop and now sits vacant, surrounded by a chain link fence. The 2.4-acre parcel of land was purchased in collaboration with the city of Ventura and the Trust for Public Land in 2012 and became the site for a proposed park.
After a meeting of the Westside Community Council (WCC) last week, plans to transform the parcel into what is temporarily known as Kellogg Park have begun to move forward and have entered the design phase.
The park will feature open spaces with trails for walking, a small playground for children and a stage for hosting art-in-the-park events, plays and other activities. Open space in the west Ventura community is a rare commodity; currently there are no parks within walking distance for the residents of the neighborhood save for West Park, which houses the neighborhood’s only community center.
Tori Kjer, program manager for the trust, says that communities on the west side of Ventura have wanted a park for a long time.
“The community has done a lot to raise awareness and advocate for themselves,” said Kjer. “We’ve also been really impressed by how the city responded as well. It’s the right park, the right place and the right time.”
The trust is a national nonprofit organization specializing in creating parks for neighborhoods in which space may not be available. The trust’s goal is for these neighborhoods to have a park within 10 walking minutes of the residents.
Jackie Pearce, member of the Westside Community Council and organizer of rallies in support of the park, said that the project is much needed and is happy that the residents have had their voices heard.
“We need open green space; we’re very green-space deprived,” said Pearce.
With the park now in the design phase, the WCC will host several meetings to finalize the design. The first meeting will be held on Feb. 19 and the final on March 19, with the design review scheduled for April.
“Communities like the Westside of Ventura haven’t historically had enough parks to meet the needs of people who live there,” said Kjer, who will be in attendance at the upcoming design meetings. “People from all walks of life, community members are driving what their park looks like. We call it participatory design.”
Barnes & Noble wins contract to run local college district bookstoresStudents looking for textbooks or school supplies at Moorpark, Oxnard or Ventura Colleges may be in for a surprise this March when the college bookstores will be branded with the familiar Barnes & Noble insignia.
The district board voted at a recent meeting to give control of the bookstores over to Barnes & Noble after a competitive process that saw three potential buyers, including Barnes & Noble, Bookstore Cooperative and Follett, pass three stages involving a written and in-person proposal. The bookstores, which have been operating with decreasing net revenue, had taken a dip in profits of close to $4 million since 2009.
Prior to 2014, the bookstores were operated by the individual schools, with funds coming directly out of individual general funds. According to Larry Kennedy, board trustee for the district, this was a non-profitable way to run the stores.
“Typically that money should have gone to the classes, counselors or student services,” said Kennedy.
With Barnes & Noble, however, the privately run stores will not have to dip into the funds set aside for use within the classrooms.
With the contract, Barnes & Noble agrees to invest $300,000 into facilities for improvements to the infrastructure, and $160,000 for technological improvements, as well as donating $15,000 per year for scholarships.
Brian Fahnestock, vice chancellor of the district, says that there are many benefits to having Barnes & Noble operate the stores.
“We anticipate that Barnes & Noble will improve the service to the students in a number of ways over what we were able to achieve by running the bookstores ourselves,” said Fahnestock. “The bookstore business is rapidly changing and we are hopeful that Barnes & Noble will keep pace with the changes and student expectations.”