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Oxnard Youth Club to Close for Renovation

Times Staff Writer

Despite pleas from parents and intervention by a county supervisor, a central Oxnard Boys & Girls Club will close its doors Friday for renovations, leaving four staff members without a job.

But Carmen Ramos-Soriano, president of the youth center’s board of directors, promised the community that the club -- which serves about 400 Oxnard children -- will reopen by the end of next year.

“This is temporary with a capital ‘T’,” she said Monday following a meeting with Ventura County Supervisor John Flynn, who had been asked by several parents to help them fight the club’s closing. “We are going to reopen it,” she added.

Her statement was enough to convince Oxnard Planning Commissioner Morey Navarro, an alum of the aging 7th Street facility.

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Last week, Navarro rallied around angry parents who said they doubted the board’s resolve to reopen the club.

But Navarro, who also attended the meeting, said he is now satisfied that board members are committed to keeping their promise.

“I don’t want to be a roadblock for them,” Navarro said. “The faster we work together, the faster we can get it done.”

Meanwhile, it appears that four staff members who were laid off as the club was closed will not be reinstated, but can reapply for their jobs when the club reopens.

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Staffers included Ruben Herrera, 53, a beloved coach at the club for 33 years. The employees were let go nearly two weeks ago after board members decided the club was no longer safe for children.

On a tour through the 49-year-old building Monday, Ramos-Soriano and Tim Blaylock, chief operating officer for the Oxnard and Port Hueneme clubs, pointed out the leaky roof, crumbling ceilings and cramped, dingy restrooms.

Ramos-Soriano said club officials will meet with parents on Jan. 13 to brainstorm fund-raising ideas and to discuss their vision for what the new club should look like.

“I want better for the children of Oxnard,” she said.

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Flynn said he is setting up a meeting early next week so that parents can voice their concerns.

He said he hoped the board would consider reopening at least a portion of the facility -- probably the gymnasium -- while renovations took place.

Additionally, he asked club officials to consider arranging transportation for children to the nearby 5th Street club while the 7th Street facility is closed.


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