Moorpark residents who feared the tiny Virginia Colony park could be shut down with a chain-link fence may sigh in relief.
The City Council has ditched a staff proposal to close the park if the local school district would not help care for it.
Instead, the council on Wednesday agreed that it will keep open the one-acre park in the eastern part of town. It recommended, however, that city staff examine whether Moorpark could reduce the level of maintenance at Virginia Colony as well as at other city parks.
"No residents wanted their local park closed at all," Councilman Bernardo Perez said. "We got that message during the budget discussion."
"The one reason we went into this is we hoped for some cost-sharing with the school district. Unfortunately, it didn't work out, so we are clear in our statement that we're not going to close the park."
The city began considering whether to close Virginia Colony during budget discussions in the spring.
The council hoped that such a move might help make up for a $600,000 shortfall in the general fund that occurred when voters last year rejected a park maintenance assessment measure.
Council members decided they should examine whether the Moorpark Unified School District could take over the park's upkeep. But negotiations weren't going to the city's satisfaction, and a few Moorpark residents protested that the small park provided the most use for the least cost and, therefore, should be kept open.
Councilwoman Debbie Teasley added that residents who live near Glenwood Park in west Moorpark have the option of going to other parks, but Virginia Colony residents have no other parks nearby.
Although the level of maintenance at city parks has already been reduced, the council has asked staff members to look into further cuts.