Town Hall lease looks promising

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Idyllwild Town Hall. File photo

Idyllwild Town Hall. File photo

The County Service Area Advisory Committee conducted business at its monthly meeting on Thursday, Oct. 27.

Key agenda items included review of the public survey regarding the future of Town Hall and what agency would manage CSA 36 recreation starting in 2017.

Mike Franklin, CSA project manager for the county’s Economic Development Agency, facilitated the meeting. Discussion again centered on what role Town Hall would play in CSA 36 recreation in the coming year. Franklin and Opal Hellweg, 3rd District Supervisor Chuck Washington’s legislative assistant, noted that Washington would be meeting on Monday, Oct. 31, with Town Hall owner Jay Johnson to determine if a mutually acceptable rental agreement could be reached for the coming year. In a telephone conversation Tuesday morning, Nov. 1, Johnson said a two-year lease looks very promising. Franklin clarified on Tuesday morning that Washington directed Vince Yzaguirre at the county’s real estate division to contact Johnson to negotiate details of a possible lease.

Town Hall currently serves as the local headquarters for CSA 36 recreation, although CSA recreational activities are conducted at other sites, including Idyllwild School’s top field. If Johnson and the county are unable to agree on a lease for the coming year, the county would be obliged to find alternate recreation sites if and until new recreation facilities at the Idyllwild Community Center could be available for CSA 36 use.

Franklin announced that the county is issuing a Request for Proposal to find a new contractor to provide recreation management for CSA 36. Currently, Riverside County Regional Park and Open Space District is providing that service but that will terminate as soon as a new contractor is selected. Although it is assumed that ICC (San Jacinto Mountain Community Center) will submit a bid and that they had been previously invited by the county to do so, it is not a foregone conclusion that the organization will be selected, according to Franklin and Hellweg.

“Once the RFP is issued, it will be a month-long process for interested providers to submit bids,” said Hellweg. Franklin stated the RFP announcement and responses will be public documents and that a panel from the county’s real property department will evaluate the responses, and that the county will make the decision and designate the next CSA 36 recreation provider. In the meantime, the future status of both Town Hall as a CSA recreational facility and of management of the CSA 36 recreational program remains uncertain.

The Town Hall public survey yielded 150 responses, according to advisory committee member Kathy Wilson, all but four of which expressed support for keeping Town Hall as a community facility, with preference to have it become a performing arts center. Wilson noted that a year lease would be absolutely necessary to provide the community ample time to explore options for purchasing Town Hall.

A motion was made and approved by the advisory committee to advise Washington of the committee’s support for securing a year lease from the Johnson family for the rental of Town Hall.

A review of the CSA revenue and expense fund showed beginning of fiscal year cash balance of $231,106.14. Franklin indicated the budget report would be updated by next meeting.

On an approved motion, the committee scheduled the next meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17.

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