To keep beach open, officials eye Coca-Cola contest
In yet another sign of hard times, officials are looking to a contest sponsored by Coca-Cola for funds to keep a popular coastal park open.
Without $500,000 to replace an aging sewer line, McGrath State Beach, a camping spot just down the coast from Ventura Harbor, is to shut down starting Sept. 6. State park officials announced the closure last April, saying they could not afford to keep the park open.
Local and state officials have floated several plans to make up the shortfall, including Coca-Cola’s “America’s Favorite Park” contest. The winning park will receive $100,000.
People can vote as often as they want at www.livepositively.com.
With dunes and ocean providing a backdrop, officials gathered at McGrath on Friday to promote the idea.
“It would be tragic to see a place like this closed,” said Assemblyman Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara), whose district includes the park.
Williams said a federal grant of $250,000 would be contingent on matching funds. The city of Oxnard, which includes the beach, has pledged $50,000 and $100,000 would come from the state. That leaves $100,000 -- and the Coca-Cola contest.
“It won’t just be government,” said Oxnard City Council member Carmen Ramirez. “It won’t just be private enterprise. It has to be all of us.”
With more than 280,000 votes, McGrath State Beach held sixth position in the Coke contest on Friday afternoon. Topping the charts -- with more than 2.6 million votes -- was flood-ravaged Oak Park in Minot, N.D.
-- Steve Chawkins
Photo: A family plays on the sand at McGrath State Beach near Oxnard. Credit: Scott Doggett for The Times