The Idyllwild Community Center group began reaching out to the local business community this week. Two morning presentations at Grand Idyllwild Lodge and an evening event at the Rainbow Inn attracted more than 70 Idyllwild business people.
On Monday morning, Janice Lyle, chair of the San Jacinto Mountain Community Center, otherwise known as the Idyllwild Community Center, told the attendees “We want you to take the excitement of a project that is doable and talk to everyone about it. Be an advocate.”
Various members of the ICC committees attended and discussed the project and encouraged the business community to create a groundswell of enthusiasm to continue building on the project’s forward momentum.
The first phase of the community center includes the Butterfield Family Center and an amphitheater. Lyle assured the attendees that the Butterfield family has promised the funds for constructing these facilities.
In addition, the Butterfields will cover any revenue shortage from the center’s use during the first 10 years. But a business model that succeeds in establishing a sustainable operation needs to be developed. Lyle said, “There is a tremendous need because this is a private program, not funded by the county.”
Benefactor David Butterfield told the people, “The dream is becoming a reality.” He and his wife were attracted to the property in the village center almost from their first trip here. After numerous discussions with landscape artist Robert Priefer, they wanted to support the community’s quest for space for its youth.
They originally bought the acreage along Highway 243 and recently added a sizeable stretch of Strawberry Creek to it.
He proudly read from a recent Idyllwild Middle School student’s letter printed in the Town Crier about the need for local activities. “If you need re-affirmation that this is important, think about the children,” he stressed.
Chris Trout, ICC spokesperson and a former Idyllwild gallery owner, explained how a community center would be a continuing attraction to visitors. “Ours is a tourist based economy. Their experience here is memorable and is what will bring them back.”
As one of the early founders of the Art Alliance of Idyllwild, Trout explained how they recognized the need for tourism. Consequently, they created and developed re-occurring art events, such as the annual Art Walk and Wine Tasting every October.
Lyle showed drawings and renderings of the future site and described the three phases to completion. The next step is submission of engineering drawings to the county in early 2014. She expects the groundbreaking to occur within 12 to 18 months.
Local businesses are encouraged to make in-kind donations. Inns might make rooms available for ICC’s use. Other forms of assistance are direct monetary gifts or the labor of staff to help on events or construction.
Those that participate will receive an “I’m helping build the ICC” flag, which can be displayed outside their business place.
J.P. Crumrine can be reached at [email protected]