Aerial view of a beach with a lifeguard station in the foreground. Beyond the beach, there is a parking lot and a marina filled with boats. Hills and mountains can be seen in the distance under a blue sky.

The Ventura Port District (District) Board of Port Commissioners (Board) are pleased to announce that a funding agreement has been signed with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to receive a grant of $200,000 for the improvements of restrooms and shower facilities at Harbor Cove Beach, Surfers Knoll Beach, and the District’s public launch ramp.

This grant is the second awarded to the District by NFWF under the “Refugio Beach Oil Spill Settlement: South Coast Shoreline Parks and Outdoor Recreation Grants Program” (Program), the first of which was a grant of $93,301 provided in 2022. Those funds were fully expended to improve beach accessibility, install three new light poles for Harbor Cove Beach parking lot, and the purchase of public safety communications equipment.

The District competed for the second grant, and was successful in securing $200,000 from the Program for projects to compensate the public for loss of use and enjoyment of public beaches, parks, and other public or natural resources in Ventura County. The Program is administered by NFWF with oversight by state natural resource Trustee agencies for the oil spill near Refugio State Beach in 2015 – the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the California State Lands Commission, the California Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Regents of the University of California.

The District’s application was supported by key community leaders, including Congressman Salud Carbajal, Assemblymember Steve Bennett, State Senator Monique Limón, and County Supervisor Matt LaVere.

Congressman Carbajal offered comment on the grant award: “Ventura’s harbor and nearby beaches are a perfect place for Central Coast families to enjoy our little slice of paradise, and with public facility improvements from this grant, we can ensure these areas are ready to serve the thousands of Ventura residents and others who enjoy our port district for years to come. Joining my colleagues in pushing for the approval of this funding was a no-brainer – I know how many will benefit from these facilities after a morning at Surfer’s Knoll or a weekend at Harbor Cove Beach – and I’m proud to have been a part of bringing this important funding to Ventura.”

Letters of support were also received from Ventura Visitors & Convention Bureau and Los Angeles Volleyball Academy.

District General Manager Brian Pendleton stated, “We really could not have been so successful with our grant pursuits without the continued support of our elected representatives. We are so very grateful that they are invested in ongoing improvements in Ventura Harbor.”

Planning has already begun for the exterior improvements at both Harbor Cove and Surfers Knoll beaches, which will include regrading the pavement (to meet ADA accessibility requirements), installation of new shower units, and repair work to some of the adjacent hardscape. In addition, the restrooms at both beach lots as well as at the District’s public launch ramp, will receive interior improvements and new exterior doors.

Board Chair, Michael Blumenberg stated, “These enhancements will improve the aesthetics, functionality, and accessibility for these public facilities. I’m very proud of the continued improvements the District has been able to implement in Ventura Harbor, especially as they relate to improving accessibility and an equitable experience for all.”

The District anticipates completing these improvements by the end of 2024.

The Ventura Port District is an independent special district of the City of Ventura and is the owner and operator of the Ventura Harbor. The Ventura Port District is committed to providing a safe harbor that is an inviting inclusive seaside destination, with exceptional facilities for fishers, boaters, residents, and visitors.