Read More »
SIMI VALLEY – Squeezed by development and running out of options, organizers of Simi Valley Days are struggling to find a permanent location to host the weeklong city celebration but say the show will go on. The September event, which requires about 20 acres of flat, undeveloped land, has been held at various locations in previous years – most recently at Los Angeles Avenue and Madera Road, a site slated for development. “We need a home,” said Marita Faulwell, executive director for the Simi Valley Days committee. “We’re going to have Simi Valley Days. It will happen in one form or another. Temporarily, we will have to make adjustments to our norm to be able to have it.” Casden Properties, LLC, plans to build 266 homes on the 16-acre site at Madera and Los Angeles. The developer revised the project after the City Council rejected a bid in 2004 to build a three-story apartment complex with 333 rental units. “That is when we have soccer season and other activities going on,” she said. “An event like that would be damaging to the grass.” District officials have suggested moving Simi Valley Days to a different time of year as well as restructuring the event, Janssen said. Another possibility is temporarily shortening the five-day bash to two days, Faulwell said. The event, a major fundraiser for 45 local charities that draws thousands, includes a carnival and parade. “We want to continue this,” she said. “This has been going on since 1933 under one name or another.” Organizers have until April to make a decision and are reviewing all options, they said. Greg Stratton, former mayor and current school board member, is another member of the Simi Valley Days Relocation Committee, made up of city, park district and school leaders. He said the January reopening of the county-owned Tapo Canyon Park, damaged by fires and floods in 2003, presents an opportunity for a fairgrounds. “The harder it gets, you start to get to the point you don’t rule anything out,” he said. In the past, the event that started out as Pioneer Days has been held at the site of the Simi Valley Town Center and Corriganville park. Now, as choices become scarce, Stratton said the committee might want to reconsider creating a fairgrounds for east Ventura County in the Tierra Rejada Valley. The greenbelt area could be useful to Simi Valley, Moorpark and Thousand Oaks, he said. The committee has known for years they would need to find a permanent location but has property-hopped for years while searching for suitable land. “It’s been a struggle for the past few years in trying to find a permanent home,” said City Councilman Steve Sojka, who sits on the committee. “It’s a community event we obviously want to keep. We’ll have to pool our resources and see if there’s any available land we can use in the meantime.” — Angie Valencia-Martinez, (805) 583-7604 firstname.lastname@example.orgWant local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake At the council’s request, the new plan reflects more homeownership. The project is expected to go before the city’s formal review process sometime next year, city planners said. Howard Katz of Casden Properties said the company hopes to break ground next year, posing a challenge for Simi Valley Days organizers. “We’d like to be under construction sooner than later,” he said. In the meantime, carnival officials are identifying possible ways to continue the festival, including using land owned by the Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District or Simi Valley Unified School District or other privately owned property. Colleen Janssen, a spokeswoman for the park district, said the timing of the event would make it impossible to host it on district-owned land.