To try for the big picture, I’ll jump around. The park was called Eleanor Park, in memory of Eleanor Johnson. The park had lilac bushes and rock-lined paths. It had a three-tier, green-tile fountain.

In 1969, when I saw the fountain, the pipes and drains were rusted out and it needed some work. It was a pretty tame park. One could have sat on a bench and read a book in relative quiet, compared to today’s loud rock ’n’ roll. No bums or homeless people slept there. The park was not huge.

Aged evidence of the limits of the park is the low river-rock wall surrounding Jo’An’s Restaurant and it’s patio.

Vacant property in Idyllwild is considered an asset. A park can bring visitors to town with money to spend. Eleanor Park had no restaurant. Sometime ago, the owners of Eleanor Park removed the brass plaque, changed the “park” zoning to commercial zoning, someone built a fast food shack called the Tax Shelter. Then came O’Sullivan’s, and then Jo’An’s, and the formerly undeveloped park with no income became a commercial, money-making property.

The so-called “community center” with swimming pool, meeting hall, etc., will cost over a million dollars. Where is the money coming from?

The estate, where they are trying to put the community center, was used as a newly wed getaway for Joe DiMaggio and his svelte new wife, Marilyn Monroe. The two lovebirds could have strolled through Eleanor Park and seen the water fountain. The people that “donated” the property to the county, gained a potentially large tax advantage and locations within the compound. It’s just a business agreement; it has nothing to do with community.

Community is just a word, Idyllwild flip flops. Sometimes we have a feeling of community and sometimes not. If people have been watching the economy and reading the headlines, even in the Town Crier, they know we are going into a huge depression.

Forty-five million Americans on food stamps, Idyllwild’s food banks filling up. Many Idyllwild residents are being forced from their homes with bank foreclosures. The bank auctions the house for less and entrepreneurs pay in cash and add it to their collections of soon-to-be worthless properties in Idyllwild.

We can’t afford four foreign wars, real estate agents and bankers taking advantage, and especially not a pie in the sky community center.

T.S. Bennett
Mountain Center