Janice Lyle, new chair of the Mount San Jacinto Community Center. Photo courtesy of Janice Lyle
A significant step toward realizing the Idyllwild Community Center and the Butterfield Family Center was taken Monday, Feb. 11. The Mount San Jacinto Community Center board has been reformulated, as David Butterfield said last month.

The current members of the Idyllwild Community Recreation Council, the operational entity, under the legal umbrella of the MSJCC, appointed four new members — Janice Lyle, Bill Sanborn, Robert Priefer and Lois Butterfield. Current acting ICRC President Dawn Sonnier remains on the board. The other ICRC directors then resigned.

The newly constituted MSJCC chose Lyle as its chairperson and Sanborn as vice chair. The secretary will be Sonnier and Priefer will handle the treasurer’s duties, while Butterfield serves as member-at-large.

The MSJCC will have two subordinate committees, Lyle said. The former ICRC group becomes the Programs and Activities Committee and the former ICC group becomes the Building, Fundraising and Capital Improvement Committee.

“I’m delighted,” said Lyle, who is executive director of Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage. “I think I can bring a series of management skill sets to help move the project forward.”

Moving forward, the MSJCC plans professional oversight. Lyle said she hopes it will be clear to the community who’s responsible and that accountability sits with the five MSJCC members. Overtime, and as the committee’s financial resources grow, Lyle expects to develop a stronger and more public financial structure to ensure fund accountability, such as identification of restricted funds, donations and operating funds.

In the next few months, efforts will focus on revising the bylaws and developing policies and procedures, which the committee will submit to the state as a non-profit organization. These procedural steps will begin engendering credibility within the community, said Chris Trout, MSJCC spokesperson.

Eventually, she expects MSJCC to hire staff for fundraising and operating the facility.

Lyle, an art historian, is the former executive director of the Palm Springs Art Museum. She has also served on the boards of many other organizations. She has been president of the California Association of Museums and the Palm Springs Library.

“I’ve been on both sides. In the early 2000s, I worked really hard at the Association of Museums to change the entire governance structure to create a vibrant organization,” she said.

In 2001, Walter and Leonore Annenberg established The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands to “address serious issues facing the nation and the world community.” Lyle has been at Sunnylands since 2008.

The trustees and staff at Sunnylands have created what the Annenbergs envisioned: a 200-acre estate and historic residence that provides a place of tranquility and hospitality where national and international leaders from a range of fields — beginning with the President of the United States — may convene to “promote world peace and facilitate international agreement.” During Lyle’s time, she has overseen the construction of the 17,000 square foot Sunnylands Center and a nine-acre garden.

While much larger than what is envisioned at the ICC site, it’s a similar idea and effort she will oversee here.

Upon retiring from the Palm Springs Museum, she moved to Idyllwild and designed and built her home. This past summer, she joined the ICC building committee to get involved in her new hometown and give to the community.

“I wanted to be in a different environment than the desert,” she said explaining her move to the Hill. “I like the snow, I didn’t think I’d ever say that,” said the Southern California native and former Santa Barbara resident. “I’ve never experienced snow nor seasons.”