Ken Dahleen is not happy with a significant rent raise for use of the Idyllwild Community Center site. The founder and promoter of the well-attended Idyllwild Summer Concert Series, said, “We have done a lot to bring people to the Idyllwild Community Center site.” He said his series has increased the profile of ICC and its fundraising and building campaign.
And, referring to what is part of a newly inaugurated 2015 fee schedule for rental of the ICC site, Dahleen said he is a bit perplexed why rent for his eight-concert series has increased to 500 percent of what it has been for the last two years.
“Up to two years ago, there was no fee for use of the park because ICRC [prior governing entity of the park site] wanted us in there because the summer concerts helped establish and support [Riverside County] use applications [playground and building construction approvals] for the site,” said Dahleen, ISCS founder and promoter. “Two years ago, a $20 per concert or $160 per summer season was levied per contract. Now it is $100 per concert or $800 for the summer.”
Dahleen noted the ISCS charges no admission fee for its concerts. Concerts are scheduled for Thursday nights and are primarily a gift to locals. They have steadily built attendance in the 15 years they have been an Idyllwild attraction, sometimes bringing in as many as 1,200 people to the site. Dahleen and board begin the season with no guarantee they will be able to raise the $20,000-plus budget needed to fund the series. They rely on community sponsors and donations — jars handed out at each concert. “Now there is a need to raise an additional $640 per season and it is a struggle to raise necessary costs as it is,” he said.
“I was told that [the rent increase] is because of overall overhead increase of the park,” he said. Dahleen said he does not believe the ISCS series costs ICC or significantly economically impacts it through its use. “We provide full insurance and indemnification for the ICC and its owners, provide all trash removal including their cans, provide trash liners for all cans during the season, clean the park each week, including the basketball court at the north end of the park before and after each use and at the end of the season, provide additional portable toilets for concert use, and take responsibility for security and arrange for Mountain Community Patrol to patrol as needed for parking and security.” Dahleen that the amount of electricity the series uses is small (he takes meter readings before and after each concert) and although by contract he agrees to pay for electricity, ISCS has never been billed for electrical use.
Dahleen said he and his ISCS board are concerned about the fee raise for a number of reasons. One, it was unexpectedly large and two, because whatever fees are set, those will be passed on to the community.
Chris Trout, ICC spokesperson, said the fee schedule is available on the ICC website at www.idyllwildcommunitycenter.org/icc-pac.html. It will impact not only Dahleen and the ISCS board, but all users. Fees charged for park use are: “Partial day use” (four hours or less) — private party, $60; nonprofit, $40; business, $100. “Full day use” (sunrise to dusk) — private party, $100; nonprofit, $100 and business, $150.
Said Trout, “This has been an across-the-board fee increase determined by the board and these are the new fees for 2015 that are fair and equitable for all.”