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The site of Rotary
Community Park has been Ojai’s transportation hub for more than 125
years. Used as a stage stop from the 1880s to about 1910, visitors would get off
the train to board the stagecoach to the hot springs.
After World War II the
site was Bunce Brothers Lumber Yard from the 1940s to 1970.
Many soldiers who had been stationed at temporary camps on Ojai Valley
Inn property during WWII stayed after the war to build homes with Bunce
In the 1970s, the site
was used as a nursery that went bankrupt in the 1980s, leaving behind an
unsightly vacant lot.
A CalTrans grant provided funding to build the first portion of the Park
& Ride facility in 1989. An
additional CalTrans grant was authorized in 2003 to complete the Park& Ride
as part of a comprehensive Inter-modal Transportation Facility including:
With this CalTrans support, the City of Ojai installed underground utilities and site “hardscape” roads for vehicles and pathways for pedestrians, plus the trolley/bus shelter, the Ojai Trail shelter, and a protective concrete block wall along the highway, among other heavy construction elements. This City of Ojai/CalTrans work was completed in early 2005.
Meanwhile, the Rotary Club of Ojai-West approached the City with a
plan to follow and enhance the completed Inter-modal Transportation Facility
with irrigated landscaping, decorative stonework, and public art.
This community service project would be accomplished entirely with private contributions and without public funds.
Rotary and other community groups cleaned up the construction site, installed irrigation systems, built a new pedestrian bridge, new trail railings and equestrian tie-up area with horse trough.
The Rotary Club of Ojai-West also installed and dedicated the running horse theme sculpture, and stone facing for the concrete block wall.
The finished wall was inlaid with “quotation stones” by figures from Ojai history.
With these aesthetic
enhancements, the space now provides a focal point and resting place for
pedestrians, joggers, bicyclists, and equestrians using the Ojai Valley Trail,
plus convenient access to public transportation.
In recognition of this community effort led by Rotary Club of Ojai-West to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Rotary International, the space is to be known as Rotary Community Park, with equal emphasis on Rotary and Community.
We all join together saying
to locals and visitors alike as they drive, walk, run, or ride into town:
“Welcome to Ojai.”
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© 2004 Daly Road Graphics Last modified: April 19, 2011