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Family, park district team up to help create new park on South Coast

Matt Goldfield and his cousin Mike on the five acre site south of Highway 101, between Moorpark and Rancho Roads which will become a community park.

Property owned by family for more than a half century in Conejo Valley will become a community park.

It's a rugged knoll just off of Highway 101 in the Conejo Valley, just south of the highway between Moorpark and Rancho Roads.

There’s a medical center on one side of the five acres, and homes on two other sides. Despite that development, the land, which includes oak trees and a creek, has remained untouched.

Now, thanks to the generosity of a longtime Thousand Oaks family, and a Recreation and Park District, it will be preserved forever.

Matt Goldfield says his dad Gerald bought the property more than a half-century ago.

"Since the early 60's, we've owned this land. The freeway here used to be two lanes," said Goldfield. "He loved the open land."

Goldfield says his dad’s friends thought he was crazy at the time. No one wanted to commute from the Conejo Valley to Los Angeles in the 1960’s.

He says his dad thought with its amazing views it would be perfect for a family home. That was the plan in the 1970's, but it never happened. When his dad died in 2000, his mom left it to him to figure out what to do with the property.

The property went into a family trust, and recently, they got a good offer in the $2 million range. But, Goldfield says selling it to a developer just didn’t feel right.

It was listed on the market for $1.4 million earlier this year when the Conejo Recreation & Park District spotted it. The District realized that with Thousand Oaks having a general plan which calls for the construction of more housing, it needs to add parks to keep pace.

Jim Friedl is the District’s General Manager.

"We're land rich, and cash poor, and we tried to figure out what could we really offer for it, and when we went to Matt, we made an offer of $975,000." said Friedl. "We explained we wanted to do a park with it. I think they actually liked the idea of the land becoming a park."

Goldfield says even though it was way less than the family wanted for the land, he was sold instantly.

"To be honest, when he put out his hand, and said we are going to make you an offer, he had me," said Goldfield. "My parents would be proud of this. It isn't about profit. Thousand Oaks will have a park here forever."

The purchase of the land for the Conejo Valley’s newest park went from an idea in January to a done deal this month.

While they found the money to buy the land, the district will need to do some fundraising to add things like access routes, and parking for the property. The land is technically not in the city of Thousand Oaks, but in unincorporated Ventura County, so they’ll have to work with the county on planning.

The concept is to keep it mostly as open space, for things like hiking or picnicking. The Recreation and Park District will develop a management plan for the property, but the important thing now is that it will remain undeveloped and become a park.