CSA 36 Advisory Committee reviews positive recreation news

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The County Service Area 36 Advisory Committee reviewed positive news about district recreation at its Thursday, Oct. 26, meeting. News included a report about a full program of well-attended events at Town Hall and completion of the new pickleball courts on the Idyllwild Pines Camp and Conference Center property.

The committee is charged by 3rd District Supervisor Chuck Washington with holding public meetings to review recreation management and services currently provided by the nonprofit San Jacinto Mountain Community Center, doing business as Idyllwild Community Center.

ICC President Janice Lyle attends CSA board meetings to report on recreation management. She thanked Barry Wallace, adult sports advocate and point person, on construction and completion of the competition-grade courts for his championing of the project and seeing it through on schedule. “I’m proud of Barry,” said Lyle. “The timing [for construction of the two courts] has worked out perfectly. People worked hard this year to make sure there was no gap [between closing existing courts on the ICC site because of site development and opening the new permanent courts].”

Wallace provided the board a budget for the courts. Of the $54,846 budget, $20,000 came from the county, $22,875 from private contributions and $12,000 from CSA 36 reserve funds.

Lyle also addressed construction timelines for the first phase of ICC construction. “November/December is the target to have the permitting process done,” she said. “The contractor won’t sign the contract [for beginning construction] until we have the permit in hand. The six-month timeline will be entirely for site development and the site will be closed during that period. Completion of the amphitheater will not be part of the first phase [as originally planned].” Lyle indicated the change was made because of cost. She assured the CSA board and the community that Ken Dahleen’s annual summer concerts would have a pad and site for next summer, even though the amphitheater shell would not be completed.

Recreation Director Bob Lewis, who manages recreation programs for ICC, reported that Town Hall is busy with a full slate of programs including a new coed adult soccer league. Lewis noted plans are underway to create a day backpacking club, investigate buying a new stove for the downstairs kitchen (which could pave the way for an adult cooking class), and discussion with Lowe’s and Home Depot about donating materials to repair Town Hall’s outdoor stage.

Lewis hopes to hold a “Taste of Idyllwild” community event with vendors, games, food and entertainment on the repaired stage.

CSA 36 Chair John Metroka questioned Lyle and Lewis about plans for senior recreation programs. “What is being developed for seniors?” he asked. “We’re an older demographic and recreation must serve all age groups, not just the young.”

Wallace noted that most of the local pickleball players are seniors and that it is a sport that can be played by all ages. “It’s the second-leading year-round sport for the community,” he said. “Hiking is number one.” There was also discussion of having regular adult ballroom dancing and scheduling it after Jazzercise classes in the evening.

The board reached agreement with ICC to be supplied regular financial reports showing how it is spending parcel-tax-funded money for specific recreation programs. Wendy Read, ICC treasurer, said the ICC board prepares a monthly 20-page report, the last three pages of which pertain to CSA 36 dollars.

Committee member Peter Szabadi asked Opal Hellweg, Washington’s legislative assistant, how the board is expected to advise the supervisor. Said Hellweg, “I attend the CSA meetings regularly and report to the supervisor what has been discussed and questioned. You can also schedule an annual review meeting with Chuck and attend his quarterly Idyllwild meetings.”

The board still lacks a fifth member. Hellweg said applications could be made through the end of the year to Hellweg at OIHellweg@rivco.org.

The next meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 25, at Town Hall. The public, especially members of the CSA 36 recreation district, are encouraged to attend to ask about and receive reports regarding community recreation services and programs.

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