a safe, vibrant, and forward-thinking city with growth on the radar
With projects ranging from infrastructure upgrades to developments attracting top business, Moorpark is a city on the rise
It is quite a unique advantage to sit at the crossroads of history and modern conveniences. It is even more difficult to provide a lifestyle that is safe, vibrant, and community-focused. Somehow, Moorpark, California seems to pull it off. Providing a tight-knit community atmosphere and world-class amenities for its residents, it is no wonder that Moorpark’s star is on the rise.
A small city with just 36,000 residents, Moorpark boasts a traditional downtown as well as plenty of outdoor amenities and recreational opportunities. Between 2019 and 2022 it was named the third safest city in California by Safewise, with police and fire protection provided by Ventura County.
Yet Moorpark is also less than an hour by train or car to downtown Los Angeles and 15 minutes from the Los Angeles city limits. It is home to a thriving school district, a successful and highly rated community college, and many upcoming new residential and commercial developments that will help the city to continue thriving in the decades ahead.
“Our residents are extremely friendly and we’re home to a number of smaller, locally-owned businesses,” says Assistant City Manager PJ Gagajena. “We’re striving to make it an even more pedestrian-friendly city that allows its residents to take advantage of outdoor amenities that are located throughout the city.”
High Street is considered Moorpark’s main thoroughfare through downtown and a central gathering place. The city’s residents have long been interested in the continual preservation of older buildings downtown. Moorpark has invested millions of dollars in making sure the downtown district exceeds residential and business owner expectations. Recent developments include a renovation and expansion of a public parking lot adjacent to the downtown Moorpark Train Station that serves both the train station and visitors of downtown businesses. That train station is also a key location for daily commuters and tourists.
Perhaps the true gathering place in Moorpark is its High Street Arts Center, a nearly 300-seat theater that is home to many community events and popular performances. Nearby a new mixed project development is taking shape that will include 79 residential units sitting atop 13,000 square-feet of commercial space.
The land where a closed granary currently sits will be turned into a residential development that includes studio, 1- and 2-bedroom apartments. These housing units will be constructed in a mixed- use development along with commercial space that is expected to house small businesses and boutique services that could employ local residents. Moorpark City Manager Troy Brown hopes that this development will particularly be attractive to young professionals who may end up deciding to stay and raise a family in the city.
“This is a much-needed addition to the High Street and is very close to our transit center,” says Brown. He also expects construction to begin later this year on new retail developments adjacent to this mixed-use space along High Street. “We’re very proud of the work we are involved with downtown,” Brown added.
The most significant development in Moorpark might be improvements that are being made along Princeton Avenue, a vital corridor that connects north Moorpark to nearby communities. Residents have long expressed a need to improve this street because it serves as a main connection point but also provides a first impression of the city for visitors.
This $14 million development includes adding sidewalks and bike lanes for long portions of the corridor, along with a center turn lane. Brown anticipates it will be completed by 2024.
Another major development is the repurposing of a 22,000-square-foot building to be the new Moorpark City Hall. It is a project that Brown is extremely excited about because it will provide a more accurate reflection of Moorpark’s commitment to leading-edge technology. He anticipates it will give city employees more opportunities for efficiency and creativity as well. This new city hall is planned to be open by the end of 2023.
“These significant developments truly represent growth and progress in Moorpark,” Brown says. “They are all projects that we are really proud of.”
True to its name, Moorpark has 19 parks throughout the city including the well-known Arroyo Vista Community Park. That 69-acre park is home to many soccer, baseball, and softball fields and hosts multiple sporting tournaments and events throughout the year, bringing in visitors far and wide, plus added revenue for the local hospitality industry every year.
Park facilities, including picnic pavilions, ball fields, soccer fields, and tennis courts can be reserved for private use. There are tennis and pickleball courts at Tierra Rejada Park, along with a dog park and a skate park in the city. Throughout the region, Moorpark offers more than 1,000 miles of hiking and biking trails that connect to an array of open spaces in the partially mountainous region.
Brown says Moorpark has been a “steward of the environment for decades” with numerous EV charging stations around the city that will only increase in numbers moving forward. Another major development with an environmental focus is the city’s new library, which the city council recently approved to be LEED certified, making it a fully sustainable building, saving money, improving efficiency, lowering carbon emissions, and creating healthier places for residents and guests.
As further proof of this commitment, Moorpark’s strategic objectives include providing better air quality, engaging in water conservation efforts, and more.
The Moorpark Unified School District is consistently rated among the top school districts in California with high graduation rates and plenty of opportunities for college courses, trades support, and more.
Moorpark College is a highly-rated community college that has recently added four-year degree programs. It is rated among the top community colleges in the nation based on average GPAs and graduation rates. Along with offering well over 20 degree programs, Moorpark College partners with local employers and municipalities, including the City of Moorpark, to fill internships. Since it first opened in 1967, Moorpark College has been dedicated to a mission that embraces social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion. Its students come from a diverse range of backgrounds, ethnicities, and ages.
Another partnership has been developed between the City of Moorpark and California Lutheran University, a private university in nearby Thousand Oaks. The city has worked with students studying public policy to complete a Capstone project researching student housing opportunities. Moorpark also supports area job fairs and job training programs with these colleges and in conjunction with neighboring municipalities.
The Moorpark Chamber of Commerce is very active in representing the area’s business community, and along with the Economic Development Collaborative, ensures that business owners and entrepreneurs have access to a wide variety of training, consulting and financial assistance, marketing support, and more. The collaborative also supports the wider geographic regions of Ventura County and even neighboring Santa Barbara County, says Gagajena. He adds, “there are just so many resources available for someone or a group of people who want to open or grow a business here in the city.”
Brown is also proud of the number of community organizations like Kiwanis, Rotary, Boys & Girls Club and Knights of Columbus clubs and how active they are. “It’s an integral part of who we are because they have a significant impact on our residents,” Brown says.
As the largest employer in the city, PennyMac Financial Services is another strong city partner, working with city and business officials to support housing and entrepreneurial needs. Moorpark is home to Ventura County’s first Amazon Fresh Market as well. Neighboring communities and Ventura County are partners in supporting an array of public services from mental health and transportation to public safety and the homeless population.
Most of all Brown feels that Moorpark has the best of both worlds; modern amenities and a contemporary way of thinking while keeping a small-town feel.
“When you are here, it just feels like you’re home,” he concludes.
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AT A GLANCE
What: A safe, modern and outdoor-friendly city just an hour’s commute outside Los Angeles
Where: In the heart of Ventura County, Southern California