Mayor Erik Nasarenko
When I think about celebrating our 150th birthday as a city, many images come to mind, but perhaps the most prominent is the Ventura pier.
It reminds me of Ventura’s resilience and optimism, for like the city itself, it may go through tough times, likely the result of high surf pounding the wood pilings or funding gaps in the city’s budget, but the setbacks are almost always temporary, because the pier–like Ventura–perseveres towards a better tomorrow, stronger against the next storm and smarter because of its ability to outlast it.
It is the oldest wooden pier in southern California, built only six years after papers were filed in Sacramento in 1866 marking Ventura’s beginning as a municipality. Back then products such as citrus, wheat, lima beans and crude oil were shipped from the pier, while lumber, bricks and cement were imported to help the city and region grow. Today, while no longer used for shipping and trading, the pier has become a destination for tourists and residents alike, who take long walks along the wooden planks at sunset or enjoy the structure from the nearby hillsides, gazing down at what has become a primary symbol of our relaxed, unpretentious beach town.
The Ventura pier is our pier–maintained by a combination of city and non-profit funds from groups like Pier Into The Future for the enjoyment of everyone. Let’s resolve to keep it that way, so that future generations of Venturans can enjoy what we are able to marvel at today.
Celebrating Ventura’s 150th anniversary is a chance for our residents to reflect on and feel pride in our city’s past, present and future. Appreciating what a special place this is to live; our rich cultural history, our diversity, and our community spirit is a part of the celebration. Learning more about the people who helped shape our city has been both amazing and educational. .
Chairing the 150th anniversary committee of 60 people, representing different organizations, many of whom were able to incorporate the 150th as a theme in their signature activities, is a reminder of the engaged community we live in. Companies and individuals stepped up to support the celebration, and giving ourselves the gift of a million acts of kindness has been a way for everyone to be involved.
We will leave a tile wall depicting our history to the present time as well as oral histories by descendants of some of our pioneer families for future generations to enjoy and learn from. And on April 2, we will introduce the community to (12) 5 year olds, who represent the future of Ventura. To me, the celebration is about the people, those before us and those to come and how Ventura will continue to evolve and thrive.
Deputy Mayor Neal Andrews
In most of the rest of the developed world 150 years would not be such a big deal. Even in the U. S. on the east coast or in the old southwest, it’s not so remarkable. The Quaker Meeting House I attended as a child has been in continual operation for over 300 years. So why are we making such a big deal out of our 150 years? Because it offers us a time for most of our citizens to learn something about the city that most came to relatively recently.
Most never knew that our early records were kept in Spanish. Most never knew that we were once part of Santa Barbara County. Most never knew that in the early days our primary agricultural focus was cattle and cattle by-products. Because it gives us the opportunity to celebrate our traditions, relatively new though they may be. Because it provides us an occasion to recognize the great contributions of so many of the early families, the Bards, Jews, Thilles, Borchards, and so many others, to the growth and prosperity of Ventura. Because it gives us the opportunity to appreciate and celebrate the quality of life we have been blessed with merely by having the chance of living here.
Ventura’s 150th anniversary is an important milestone that the entire city can celebrate. We are one of the oldest cities in California, going back to the founding of the Mission in 1782. Then in 1866, with around 5,000 residents, we were incorporated as the City of San Buenaventura.
One of the most exciting projects to commemorate our anniversary is the historic tile mural that will be built in front of the Mission. The artist, Michael O’Kelly, is designing a pictorial history that will celebrate our heritage in a beautiful and lasting art form.
To find out more about the mural and upcoming festivities, go to www.celebrateventura.org or Ventura Historic Mural on Facebook.
What a wonderful moment! A city that has stood the test of time, changed much over 150 years and yet feels so warm, comfortable and unpretentious to this day. I’m proud and honored to have served on the Council for 16 years and been a part of helping to keep Ventura genuine. May she thrive for 150 more and beyond.
As a lifelong resident of Ventura, it’s great to see the enthusiasm and involvement in this celebration of the founding of our City 150 years ago. Looking forward, our continued success and vitality will require renewed individual commitment and investment–with time, talent, and resources–in order to meet the many challenges our community faces. We all agree that this is a wonderful place to live and work, and I truly believe that our best days lie ahead.
There are seven members of the Ventura City Council. Each member must be a registered voter in the City and is elected at-large. The Council selects one of its members to be Mayor. The Mayor serves a term of two years and is the presiding officer of the Council. The Mayor has been delegated the responsibility to act as the City Council’s ceremonial representative at public events and functions. The Deputy Mayor is also selected in the same manner and serves a two-year term.
The Ventura City Council meets at 6:00 pm three Mondays each month.
Councilmembers may be contacted via telephone at 654-7827 or by sending an email to [email protected]