Oxnard Campus Park

By R.S. Rodriguez

Oxnard Campus Park…Tear Down that Fence!

Four years ago, or so, the majority of the old asbestos-riddled Oxnard High School was razed.  A few of the newer structures were spared, including the basketball gym.  I attended Oxnard High School and was not sorry to see it demolished, as it was one of the oldest high schools in Ventura County.  Shortly after the debris was cleared, a sign was installed on the corner of H and 5th Streets near Henry T. Oxnard Historic District, touting the location as the new home of “Campus Park.”  Said sign provided a website one could visit for updates on the status and progress of the park.  Unfortunately, when visiting the website, there was some general information about the City of Oxnard but no information I could find concerning Campus Park. (The original sign was replaced by a more attractive sign a few months ago. The new sign also has the website address, yet upon revisiting the website, there is still nary a mention of Campus Park).

The property is surrounded by an unattractive wire mesh fence held in place by approximately 100 seven foot poles.  Perhaps it’s time to uproot the fence and poles, take them to a recycling center and use the funds for the purchase and planting of trees at the park.  Trees take a while to grow, of course, and at the rate of progress (or lack thereof) of this City of Oxnard project, it might be a good idea to plant tree as soon as possible so they can begin to grow and add beauty to the area.

The City of Oxnard, Ventura County and many municipalities are struggling in this current economic environment.  Perhaps that is one reason progress at Campus Park is progressing as slowly as a wait at the local DMV.  Maybe it’s also the reason the Campus Park sign provides a website address without pertinent information.  Hopefully by removing that eye sore of a fence residents in the area can begin to enjoy the open space until the City of Oxnard has the funds and manpower to begin work on Campus Park.

A few months ago, I drove past the location, scribbled a telephone number on the sign and called to ask what was planned at Campus Park.  I was informed the park would be used for sports activities, including soccer fields and basketball courts.  Athletic activities are certainly sound uses of the property, but how long does it take to mow the lawn and chalk outlines of soccer fields? I would hope for and envision a combination of a sports park and an aesthetic park providing children a location to participate in sports on weekends, but also allowing adults and senior citizens an area throughout the week to sit, relax and enjoy beautiful trees and well-conceived gardens and walkways.

This writer is not a landscape architect. The western border of the property runs along the Historic District in Oxnard. Across the street is the elegant Buddhist Temple on H Street.  How attractive a corridor it would be, I suggest, to have a portion of the property along all of H Street between Fifth and Second Streets to be a tree-lined (accentuated with gardens, walking paths and sitting benches) park.  Perhaps one third of the property could be dedicated to tranquil ambiance of trees and gardens and the other two thirds to the proposed sports facilities.

In the meantime, City of Oxnard…Tear down that fence!