By Michael Hernandez
THOUSAND OAKS—The City Council approved conceptional plans for the Civic Arts Plaza Campus Master Plan as well as the project design for Thousand Oaks Boulevard Streetscape Phase I Project at Tuesday’s meeting.
The City which has $20 million set aside for redeveloping the Civic Arts Plaza authorized the City Manager to move forward with an expenditure not to exceed $500,000 to AECOM as it begins to develop a Public Private Partnership (P3) in its efforts to: re-align The Main Street; terrace the Town square; increase the amphitheater size; and create a Grand Star Gateway to the Civic Arts Plaza building—all part of the project to redevelop the existing Civic Arts Plaza.
Likewise, the Council awarded a construction contract to Los Angeles Engineering, Inc. (Covina, CA) in the amount of $3,496,720 plus a $350,000 contingency for work on Thousand Oaks Boulevard and delegated authority to the City Engineer to approve changes in design, plans and working details of the downtown re-development project.
In other action, the City Council approved a General Services Agreement with WESCO Service LLC of Pittsburgh, PA to provide energy services for LED lighting retrofits at the Grant R. Brimhall Library not to exceed $150,000 and also approved refunding lease revenue bonds (Municipal Facilities Projects) between the Conejo Recreation and Park District (CRPD) and the City for the Goebel Adult Community Center and the Alex Fiore Thousand Oaks Teen Center.
The Grant R. Brimhall Library project was approved in order to take advantage of the Southern California Edison incentive program to reduce energy cost with the project paying for itself at the end of 3.5 years while bringing about a 60 percent energy reduction.
The Grant R. Brimhall Library (1401 E. Janss Road) which was dedicated on Jan. 25, 1982 is located on Janss Road near State Route 23 on land owned by the district and leased to the City for 50 years with two options to extend the lease for two additional 24 year periods. The City will need to extend its option because the bond’s final maturity will be in 2031. The Standard Poor bond rating is AA+ (the highest municipal bond rating). The City’s debt policy is reviewed every two years.
The 81,000 square foot library has a 3,000 square feet adjacent Special Collections Storage building and is the largest library in Ventura County and is one of the largest in Southern California with more than 370,000 items in the collection. It is named after a former City Manager and is operated by Thousand Oaks. The library also contains a 22,000 square-foot children’s wing expansion which also features a 3,700 gallon saltwater aquarium and children’s patio.
Situated in adjacent land is the Goebel Adult Community Center gifted to Thousand Oaks and named after Louis Goebel (1385 E. Janss Road) which opened in 1975 on part of the site used by the famous Goebel’s Jungleland and the Alex Fiore Teen Center (1375 E. Janss Road) founded in 1989 and named after a 30-year council member and six-time mayor of Thousand Oaks.
In other city council business:
- Approved eight community enhancement grants not to exceed $5,000 each that totaled $30,400 for environmental projects that benefit Thousand Oaks;
- Heard a presentation from New Symphony music director Michael Christie who shared how local music performers are coming together to present a “Duet of Rembembrance” commemorating the Holocaust and the 75th anniversary of the liberation of concentration camps with a two-part concert series featuring “Dreams” on Saturday, February 29 (7:30 p.m. at the Fred Kavli Theatre, 2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd.) and on Sunday, March 1 at the Camarillo Rancho Campana Performing Arts Center (4235 Mar Vista Drive) at 3 p.m. and “Violins of Hope” on Saturday, April 18 at 7:30 p.m. at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza and on Sunday, April 19 at 3 p.m. at the Camarillo Rancho Campana Performing Arts Center;
- Acknowledged the retirement of Barry McComb for supporting the Arts in Thousand Oaks for the past eight years;
- Approved the appointment of Jay Spurgin as a retired annuitant hourly employee not to exceed 180 days or 960 hours;
- Adjourned in memory of Dennis Carpenter, who served almost 10 years as Thousand Oaks Police Chief starting in 2005. He died Feb. 9 after a 33-year career in law enforcement and is survived by six grandchildren.
Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service; editor of the History Makers Report and founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. He has worked 25 years as a middle school teacher in Monrovia and Los Angeles Unified School Districts. Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at [email protected].
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The Thousand Oaks City Council has NOT had a great history of success when it comes to some of their major projects, like The Civic Arts Plaza. It seems that every project like this one has ultimately become City Hall in order to fill empty office space.
Consider The Oaks Mall, and the empty shops, and you get a clue that this City does not know how to plan for the future.