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County Delays Vote on Park Transfer

March 29, 2000|STACY BROWN

Community outcry and a county supervisor's absence delayed the expected transfer of College Park to the city of Oxnard on Tuesday.

After more than 18 months of negotiations, county supervisors were poised to transfer ownership of the 75-acre park to Oxnard.

But after numerous residents voiced concern, officials decided to rethink the move.

They said community input would be sought before any new development occurs at the park.

"Supervisor Frank Schillo received a number of letters and calls from residents and felt they didn't have enough information," said Rebecca Arnold, county staff services manager.

The outcry is based on speculation that Oxnard plans to create a "field of dreams" of at least 11 soccer fields. Oxnard officials have not confirmed those plans.

Many residents have asked that a children's playground, two ball fields, a swimming pool and a ceremonial garden for weddings and other events be the focus of development.

Oxnard Mayor Manuel Lopez said he would call for public hearings to quell fears local residents might have about the deal, Arnold said.

"The extent of public discussions about the park has been minimal," resident Mel Allen said. "No mention was made by the city manager or anyone about the $6 million or so taxpayers would have to spend on this field of dreams."

The county Parks Advisory Committee earlier this month voted unanimously to recommend the transfer of the park to Oxnard, saying that the $50,000 annual maintenance costs were too steep.

Tuesday's proceedings were further complicated by the last-minute absence of Supervisor Susan Lacey, who called in sick just before the 8:30 a.m. meeting.

The five-member Board of Supervisors needs a four-fifths vote to transfer the park to Oxnard.

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