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VENTURA | West Ventura County Focus

Maintenance Options for Parkland Studied

April 17, 1996|TRACY WILSON

It isn't easy being green.

In the last 17 years, the city of Ventura has increased its park acreage 60% but has done little to set aside additional funding for maintenance.

Now, officials say a landscaping plan is badly needed to keep the city's vast green parks from withering away.

"We know there are some things that are not getting attention," Public Works Director Ron Calkins told the City Council on Monday night.

City parkland has grown from 251 acres to 408 acres since 1979, while the number of maintenance workers has been reduced, Calkins said.

Officials estimate that an additional nine acres, including a four-acre neighborhood park, will be added to the city's landscaping duties in the next year.

As a result, some park sites of lower priority will have to be abandoned if funding sources are not found, Calkins said.

Properties needing landscape maintenance include not only neighborhood parks but linear parks, such as tree rows and planted street medians, that have been required as new housing projects are approved.

"Every time development comes forward, we've required landscape improvements," Councilman Steve Bennett said.

"Then we have no way of maintaining them."

The City Council authorized Calkins to study various funding options and told staff members to come back with recommendations.

Among the possible funding options: creating an assessment district, establishing adopt-a-park programs or committing money out of the city's General Fund.

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