As a homeowner and long-time resident of Ventura, Kevin Clerici has been actively involved in public service for over 20 years. At times serving in many capacities as a representative for the community, Mr. Clerici has sat on, or chaired a number of boards most notably, the Downtown Ventura Partners (DVP). This group’s goal is preserving the historical and adaptive reuse architecture in the city in order to maintain the visual unity and quality of the city’s old world charm and heritage it is known for. DVP has a clear mission which is, ”to make Downtown as clean and safe and economically viable (and fun) as possible.”
As members of the downtown collective, we at LIV Sotheby’s International Realty were excited to sit down with Mr. Clerici and learn more about DVP and how it supports the community.
“Essentially we step in to address particular needs above what the City can do. The success of our downtown is based on partnerships with local and national organizations so we can further serve the public”, says Mr. Clerici.
One example of these partnerships is with Block by Block, an national organization that provides specialized services through management of systems and people that allows their city leaders to focus on their core business. Block by Block, whose Ambassadors work hard to help to keep the streets and sidewalks clean and free of crime and litter and also to serve the public by answering any questions visitors may have about the city of Ventura, its attractions, historic buildings and really whatever you can think of. The Ambassadors are easy to find making their rounds in bright red and black shirts and are often seen riding their bikes through Downtown.
Mr. Clerici also prides himself in being involved in, or sitting on the board of, a number of associations including the Westside Community Council, the Ventura Botanical Gardens, and the Chamber of Commerce as well the City’s Homeless Stakeholders Group. All of these public initiatives share the goal of creating a safe, clean, and economically viable region where everyone can live and prosper. Recognized by the community as well as his peers, Mr. Clerici was named a “Champion of Mental Health” by the Turning Point Foundation and was lauded for his work as Fiscal Receiver/Coordinator of the West Ventura County Winter Warming Shelter.
Always on the move, Mr. Clerici plays an essential role in the growth and vitality of the ever evolving urban community in Ventura. He and DVP work closely with business owners, residents, service providers, and local law enforcement to create a positive environment where people of all backgrounds can live, work, and shop in the city’s eclectic and inviting mix of architecture, museums, retail storefronts, restaurants, and entertainment venues. According to Mr. Clerici, “We want to create a great public space for people to enjoy whether you’re a visitor or a local. Our team at DVP talks about how we want to create an energy or a buzz where people will want to bring their families and friends to come visit.” Among his core beliefs is the idea that it’s critical to have leaders who are acutely aware of, and in touch with, the issues Ventura faces, from the lingering effects of the pandemic and the rising cost of living, to homelessness, and he does so by treating every individual he encounters with compassion, dignity, and respect.
As a former journalist, Mr. Clerici reported on a variety of community events and happenings, often getting the inside scoop on the events in and around downtown Ventura. Throughout his life and career, he developed a keen interest and feel for what it is to live and work in this alluring beachfront community.
As he says, “the appeal of Ventura, with the ocean to the west and the mountains to the east, makes this municipality north of Los Angeles a desirable location, not only to put down roots, but also to come visit and partake in all of the attractions and activities we have happening year round. Visiting the Botanical Gardens is a big draw, as is fishing off the Ventura Pier. We also have endless waves attracting swimmers and surfers alike.”
Ventura has been, and continues to be, a popular tourist destination as its location along the coast of California brings visitors from all over the world to experience its desirable, welcoming atmosphere, and the pleasant weather it provides year round. As with a number of other communities along the coast of Southern California, Ventura has a lengthy and vibrant history with its iconic landmarks, world-class beaches, and resorts.
In recent years, Mr. Clerici has experienced the community’s resilience and fortitude, especially after the Thomas Fire in 2017 and the past two years of recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, which threatened to shut down a number of businesses and cripple the downtown economy and Ventura in general.
“I was blown away by how much local support has rallied behind the businesses in our community.” He goes on to say, “We have not seen the closures that we anticipated and I credit that to the wonderful community we have here in Ventura, not just downtown, but all of Ventura.”
As the pandemic hit, Mr. Clerici worked tirelessly with the local government to keep the economy rolling by assisting with the implementation of Main Street Moves, a series of street closures to automobile traffic that made it so businesses and restaurants were able to move their services outdoors where visitors could still frequent their favorite spots without the perceived fear of exposure to the virus in close, intimate spaces.
“We are a stronger community now more than ever as we weathered the restrictions and regulations imposed by the COVID-19 threat and our people showed how much they care about each other and this town,” Mr. Clerici says. “All of our quaint, eccentric, and welcoming residents have taught us to be more caring and neighborly, while opening up the streets and welcoming back their social life, brought about much more teamwork and care than division.”
It’s these qualities Ventura embodies that inspires Mr. Clerici to do the work he does. He cherishes his community and always looks for the good in people no matter what challenges they face.
When all is said and done, Mr. Clerici ultimately wants his community to be the best it can be.
He states simply, “on a beautiful day, I hope people think of Ventura as the place to be.”