OXNARD : City Directs Funds to Downtown Efforts

The Oxnard City Council has agreed to fund a series of proposals to resuscitate the city's once-thriving downtown.

Oxnard's latest plan in a decades-long effort to spruce up the area involves using $1.6 million in redevelopment funds to spur private investment downtown and make the area competitive with newer office complexes and shopping malls.

The City Council Tuesday reviewed a mixture of old and new plans--put together by consultants, merchants and city officials--to revive the area and choosing the ones it thought would make the biggest impact for the money.

Among the proposals the council selected:

* Erecting signs and kiosks throughout Oxnard, pointing the way to downtown and detailing what can be found in the area.

* Helping shop owners band together in marketing efforts.

* Assisting property owners in upgrading their buildings to create an attractive environment for pedestrians.

* Providing additional parking and greater storefront visibility on A Street, the center of downtown.

The council also decided to begin a $2.5-million program to upgrade downtown's Plaza Park by closing off North 5th Street to traffic, providing more landscaping and building a colonnade.

City officials said they will present the council with more detailed descriptions of the programs and requests for funding in coming months.

Councilman Tom Holden said Oxnard needs to stop making bad decisions downtown and implement some quality programs to bring the area back.

"We've screwed up enough projects downtown," Holden said to city staff members. "You can bring (projects) before us, but getting them done is another matter."

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