At last, residents in west Ventura have greenspace to call their own with the grand opening of Kellogg Park, a dream eight years in the making.
On Saturday, April 14, the community came together in celebration of the park, on the corner of Ventura Avenue and Kellogg Street, with city officials, activists and residents expressing gratitude for sticking with the endeavor through to completion.
The park consists of walking paths, a stone amphitheater, picnic tables and a community garden with plots available to rent for $5 per month, $30 for six months.
One person in attendance was Jackie Pearce, who in 2010 introduced the idea for the park at a meeting of the Westside Community Council. The idea came to her as she rode with her two sons to school in the morning, during which she questioned why residents of the Westside have to travel across the city to enjoy a public space.
Pearce worked on realizing the park as a member of the Westside Community Council’s park subcommittee. Since, she has helped implement the Westside’s Pollinator Series of murals as a member of the nonprofit Westside Community Development Corporation.
After introducing the idea, Pearce says the community came together.
“It’s definitely a story of collaboration and partnerships and the community coming together and the baton being passed on from one organization to another or individual,” said Pearce. “And here we are; it has turned into a beautiful masterpiece.”
The lot upon which the park now resides was purchased by The Trust for Public Land in 2013 and gifted to the city. The park has gone through a series of concepts, eventually landing on the final design, developed in partnership with The Trust, Kaiser Permanente Heal Zone and the community.
Grants to fund the $4.5 million park project included $1 million from California Natural Resources Agency, Urban Greening for Sustainable Communities Program grant; $815,650 from the California Department of Housing and Community Development, Housing and Related Parks Program grant. The California Department of Parks and Recreation Land and Water Conservation Fund also awarded the city a $1.5M grant. The community contributed $166,000, including $30,000 from Aera Energy.
On an overcast afternoon, Ventura Avenue resident Lisa Lopez enjoyed lunch with friends sitting at a stone picnic table at the park.
“I love it and I’m very impressed with it,” said Lopez. “What I really like the most is I live off the Avenue here and we needed something like this for so long because there’s so many kids and it’s been like Disneyland, every time I drive by here, even in the night, there are people here, they are so happy that there is a nice park to go to now.”
Pearce praises Pacific Coast Land Design for the finished project, saying that she “didn’t know that it would be so beautiful.”
“It is our responsibility now,” said Pearce. “Take pride in this park, feel empowered to preserve it and plan for the next thing because we can do more; it’s very symbolic.”