Director’s Message: 4th of July, Harbor Academy, Planning & Development Update

Happy Birthday America!!  I thought I would be writing about the sunny and warm Channel Islands Harbor and Oxnard Beaches this month, but the sun has yet to show its face.  The 4th of July is next week, and I am confident we will see sunny days before then.

The 4th of July always provides a wonderful experience on the waterfront.  In my opinion, there is no better place to be on our country’s birthday than the waterfront.  Boat owners, marine businesses and waterfront residents always celebrate the 4th in style, and it is very heartwarming to see the boats and waterfront decorated in red, white and blue, and to get out on the 4th and enjoy all of the waterfront activities.

Here in the Channel Islands Harbor, we have a full day of activities, starting with a 5K run/walk then a celebratory parade on Harbor Boulevard.  The Farmer’s Market will be open and better than ever as it celebrates this patriotic day, and don’t miss the electric boat parade in the Harbor, which begins at 4:30 p.m.  And, of course, the capstone for the day, the fireworks show which will light up the Harbor beginning at 9 p.m.

I started in mid-July last year, so this will be my first.  I am very excited to join the nation’s birthday celebration at the Channel Islands Harbor, and hope you do to.  Remember, let’s celebrate, but celebrate safely.

Harbor Academy, Rounds 4 and 5

Since our last newsletter, we have held the final two Harbor Academy sessions.  The fourth was a presentation and frank discussion regarding the Channel Islands Boating Center (CIBC).  It was held at the Boating Center, complete with wonderful finger food and drinks provided by the caterer who works with the CIBC.  I appreciate the feedback we received from the attendees, and we have discussed some additional program ideas and communication strategies with the CIBC leadership.

The fifth Harbor Academy workshop covered the department’s marketing and promotion efforts.  It was hosted at and by the Maritime Museum, who did a wonderful job (thanks!) and was presented by the Harbor PIO, Jed Chernabaeff.    Jed has done a wonderful job with our promotion and marketing since he joined the team in January 2017.  We have launched an award-winning website, and have created and increased our social media presence significantly.  The challenge we face is that we could use a better product to market, which comes down to completing the three prominent re-developments in the Harbor – the Hyatt Hotel development, Fisherman’s Wharf and the Fresco’s on the Harbor Restaurant.  While this development is painstakingly slow, once we have these areas developed, we will have the best Harbor in the State to promote and market.

I would like to recognize and thank all who attended the Harbor Academy, particularly those who attended all five sessions.  It was a great experience for me and my staff to put these together and take them to the public, and I hope they were enlightening and educational for all of you who are passionate about the Harbor.

Harbor Department at the Farmer’s Market

Beginning this Sunday, we will have a booth at the Harbor Farmer’s Market.  We hope to do this throughout the summer, and I will be there most Sundays, except for those where I am out of town.  There is no agenda or covert reason for doing this, other than to promote the Harbor and answer any questions or discuss ideas the public might have.  I look at this like an informal extension of the Harbor Academy.

Planning and Development in the Harbor

We have been moving steadily on the key projects in the Harbor.  The lease for the Fresco’s on the Harbor Restaurant should go to the Board of Supervisors on July 23.  Once the lease is executed, the owners will begin pulling permits and get the interior demolition and rebuild underway.

The Peninsula Projects are moving forward as well.  The attorneys for the Hotel, Marina and County are still working on the leases and agreements, which should go to the Board of Supervisors in August or September, in time for the demolition to begin in October.

Fisherman’s Wharf is moving slowly through the City of Oxnard process.  We believed it would be to the Planning Commission on July 18, but I was told June 27th  that the item will not make that agenda, and will likely be backed up until August 15, 2019.

As always, live every day to the fullest.

Mark Sandoval, Harbor Director
Ventura County Harbor Department

Editor's Note: this message was published June 28, 2019.