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OXNARD : Pleasant Valley Community Center to Open

Unlike the larger Colonia Village, with its gym, pool and multipurpose center, Oxnard’s Pleasant Valley Village housing project offered little for its residents to do--until now.

The Pleasant Valley Community Center, set to open today, will provide the project’s 100 residents with a place to gather, take enrichment courses and bring their children to play and learn.

The 2,400-square-foot stucco building will serve as the headquarters of the Pleasant Valley residents council. It will also contain a small children’s library, will host computer literacy and dance classes and will provide tutoring for high school students.

“Everybody’s been real anxious to get into the center and use it,” said B.J. Ballard of the Oxnard Housing Authority, who is in charge of the project. “I think people are glad they have a place to go now and take their children.”

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The center also will be open to residents of smaller public-housing projects scattered throughout the city.

The facility, built around a set of restrooms next to a baseball diamond, took 14 months to complete and cost $417,000. The money came from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The construction project also included the erection of a masonry block wall around the ballpark and center and a parking lot.

City officials had wanted to build a center in the project for years but were unable to secure funds from HUD until last year, Oxnard housing Director Sal Gonzales said.

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“We would have liked to have made it bigger,” Gonzales said, “but we were lucky to get funding for it as it is.”

Community leaders and neighborhood children alike welcomed the new center.

“We’re going to help the people learn English, get people to register to vote, and do all kinds of things,” said Michael Arriaga, president of the Pleasant Valley Tenants Assn. “We look forward to accomplishing a lot for the area.”

“We have a lot of kids roaming the streets with no place to go,” said Marina Ramirez, a teacher at the project’s Ocean View day-care center. “I think they’ll go over there and play. An older man is teaching them boxing.”

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Victor Lopez, 15, was killing time at the day-care center Thursday.

“It’s a good idea to put that there,” Victor said. “Some kids don’t know where to go around here. We’ll have a place to hang.”


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