Ojai Deeded Site of Museum So It Can Buy Chapel

The Ventura County Board of Supervisors has agreed to deed the Ojai Valley Museum property to the city of Ojai.

The museum is in an old county firehouse at 109 S. Montgomery St. The building and its parking lot are appraised at $310,000.

The board's action paves the way for the city to sell the museum and a separate office building in order to buy a historic Catholic chapel on Ojai Avenue. Museum directors hope to share the chapel with the Ojai Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau.

Supervisor Maggie Erickson Kildee said the board's unanimous decision was based on the original deed condition that the former firehouse remain as a museum as long as the county owned it.

Museum Curator Robert O. Browne said he was pleased at the board's decision. "Whatever we can arrange will be to the museum's advantage, and it will save a historical building," he said about the chapel.

Browne said numerous inquiries have been made about buying the museum site, but he hopes the nonprofit Ojai Center for the Performing Arts, located next door, can acquire it for additional space. Engineers estimate that it will need $37,000 in repairs to meet state earthquake-safety standards.

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