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Articles

Ojai Skate Park Construction To Begin

By Sondra Murphy

Ojai City Hall was buzzing with anticipation Tuesday as skateboard park supporters packed the chambers to witness the City Council vote on whether to accept a bid from California Skate Parks to build the permanent, in-ground facility in the heart of downtown.
The crowd was not disappointed, as the council voted to adopt two resolutions. The first was to award the contract to CSP in an amount not to exceed $379,992, including all add- and deduct alternatives. The second resolution authorized a $107,237.50 allocation from Redevelopment Agency funds for additional costs, such as rest rooms, benches and perimeter fencing as required by the property owner, Ojai Unified School District.
Those carefully monitoring the process know it has been nearly two years since the community came through with more than $260,000 to supplement the city’s allocation for the project. The efforts to build an Ojai Skate Park first began in the ‘90s. The project has waxed and waned, depending on the financial situation of OUSD or the city any given year, as well as the whims of numerous governing board members during various terms.
Public Works director Mike Culver reported that the project includes $100,000 from the city and $260,214.08 in donations raised by Skate Ojai. So far, $30,780.47 has been spent on design and pre-bid activities and $16,237.95 is earmarked for construction management. This left $313,195.66 in the fund. CSP’s bid was $286,742, leaving $26,453.66 to serve as a contingency on the base construction project.
The conditions of approval set forth by OUSD require a vaulted rest room, benches and 8-foot-high perimeter fence, which puts the project beyond the amount of money contributed by the city and Skate Ojai and made the redevelopment funds necessary. The council was satisfied with the plan in order to begin the construction process.
“I am prepared tonight to award the construction contract and award the add-on components,” said Councilwoman Sue Horgan. “However, I’m wondering if there’s a way to break up the add-on components. Is there a way to carve out the cost of that fence?”
“I don’t want anything to delay this project,” said Councilwoman Carol Smith. “The property is owned by OUSD. They made it real clear they want a fence and a toilet.”
The council decided to authorize the resolutions, but directed staff to approach the School District to see if any adjustments might be possible, in light of the cost of the add-on alternates.
The audience sighed its relief in hearing the council was comfortable authorizing the project. “It’s been a long — a long — and tiresome process,” said Skate Ojai’s Deborah Moe. “Everyone’s worked so hard and I’m just thrilled that we’re finally here.”
Skate Ojai President Chet Hilgers agreed. “This is a great night for the kids. We have generations of kids that have worked hard on this.”
“Moe is one of the original people who has worked for the Skate Park from 1994,” said Wendy Hilgers, also of Skate Ojai. “Everybody in the room; we’re just so happy.”
Besides the cluster of youth who celebrated the vote, members of the award-winning Ojai Skate Team were on hand. Jamey Gabriel said he will still be on the team when the park is finished. J.T. Erickson said he looked forward to being able to practice in town and even gazed down the road at the possibility of helping to teach younger participants in the sport, “… once they build the new park.”

Ojai City Hall was buzzing with anticipation Tuesday as skateboard park supporters packed the chambers to witness the City Council vote on whether to accept a bid from California Skate Parks to build the permanent, in-ground facility in the heart of downtown. The crowd was not disappointed, as the council voted to adopt two resolutions. The first was to award the contract to CSP in an amount not to exceed $379,992, including all add- and deduct alternatives. The second resolution authorized a $107,237.50 allocation from

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