Monday night, the San Jacinto Mountain Community Center board shared its plans for the Idyllwild Community Center site and the next steps, which will result in groundbreaking within 12 to 18 months.

The plot plan, which was shared during the evening, depicts the three stages of construction. Phase 1 may begin in the next 12 to 18 months, Lyle said. Photo by J.P. Crumrine
The plot plan, which was shared during the evening, depicts the three stages of construction. Phase 1 may begin in the next 12 to 18 months, Lyle said.
Photo by J.P. Crumrine

“This will be an amazing asset built in our lifetime — sooner than later,” Janice Lyle, president of the SJMCC told a large group of community members. “We are ready and committed. The Butterfields [Dave and Lois] are committed to creating Phase 1.”

Convening a large community group who have leadership roles in various local volunteer groups — including recreation, environmental and artistic — Lyle, Dave Butterfield and Jim March, the project architect, described the preliminary plans and urged the audience to embrace and adopt the project just as a much smaller population did in 1946 when Town Hall was constructed.

March, who took the group on a virtual tour of what will be seen when Phase 1 is completed, said, “In 20, 30 or 50 years in the future, you will not be able to imagine Idyllwild without the community center. It will be the heart and soul of the community.”

The Butterfield Family Center, a two-level building, will have its front on the upper level facing Highway 243. Inside the entrance, with an 18-foot ceiling, will be a lobby and art gallery. Opening off the back will be a large deck looking down on Strawberry Creek and the amphitheater.

The lower level will have a full-service kitchen with seating for 100, a teen center and a terrace level also looking upon the amphitheater about 25 feet below.

Butterfiled told the assembly, “This will be an environment for your children and grandchildren who can come here to enjoy it.” He also stressed that the teen center is an important component of the whole complex.

“It’s a place for kids to call their own,” he said and promised that Phase 1 will happen. After plans are submitted to the Riverside County Planning Department, the nonprofit will need a conditional use permit. Third District Supervisor Jeff Stone, who also attended, promised to be an advocate for the community center.

Along with the Butterfield Family Center, the amphitheater will constitute Phase 1, which the Butterfields have committed to finance and should be completed in less than a year after groundbreaking.

Phase 2 is the recreation center, essentially a gymnasium available for sports and indoor events such as concerts. Phase 3 is an indoor pool.

With the addition of a second parcel, which the Butterfields bought and donated to the project in the winter, the site has nearly a quarter mile of frontage along Strawberry Creek. A second entrance and exit will be off of Village Center Drive. This feature pleases both Cal Trans and the Idyllwild Fire Department, according to March.

Monday night was the kick-off of several sessions to introduce the community center plans to the community. The first group included leadership of multiple community groups.

“You serve an import role in the community,” explained Bill Sanborn, SJMCC vice president, “You’re a leader in a service group that is important to Idyllwild.” After Monday’s presentation, the news should begin to filter through the local groups.

Next, there will be presentations to town’s business leaders and other organizations. Chris Trout, ICC spokesperson, will be available to speak to community groups about the plans and timeframe. Any group wishing to know more about the ICC plans may email Trout at [email protected] “We are also happy to conduct tours for couples, families, friends, visitors or anyone who would like a personal introduction to the ICC project,” she added.