Community Center board may manage local recreation

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The future of recreation in Idyllwild may rest with the San Jacinto Mountain Community Center board.

While this group is in the midst of guiding the construction of an amphitheater and eventually a community center at Butterfield Commons on Strawberry Creek, managing the complete local recreation program also may become its responsibility as early as January.

Everyone involved has stressed that they want what will best serve the community’s recreation needs. And the general consensus seems to be greater local control and involvement, which a board of local residents can provide.

Since 2011, when the Idyllwild Community Recreation Council managed the local recreation program, the county — either through its Economic Development Agency, which oversees the many Community Service Areas, or the county’s Regional Park and Open-Space District — has been responsible for delivering the recreation program, whether youth or adult sports, or other activities, on the Hill.

Janice Lyle, SJMCC board president, has had some preliminary meetings with Supv. Chuck Washington’s office and officials from EDA about SJMCC assuming control of the recreation program. However, nothing has been signed and the talks have been preliminary, she stressed. “But at this point, SJMCC, EDA and the supervisor’s office are all in agreement about the future direction of recreation; but nothing is complete yet.”

The Idyllwild recreation program, which officially is under the aegis of CSA 36, is the last CSA recreation program that the Open-Space District is managing, according to Kyla Brown, parks and recreation bureau chief.

Brown also confirmed the preliminary talks and the possibility of a private nonprofit agency assuming the management role. She stressed that it is management of the local recreation program being discussed. The Open-Space District would continue to manage its facilities at the Idyllwild Nature Center and Hurkey Creek Park.

With the Open-Space District looking for a successor, a member of Washington’s staff confirmed that they are looking at all options and “want what’s best for the community.”

All the entities concurred that it is premature to discuss the future role of Town Hall, but Washington has supported its contribution to local history and local thespians, and would like to see that continue if possible.

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