The Conditional Use Permit for the Idyllwild Community Center is nearly approved, just as Janice Lyle, chair of the ICC board, said late last summer.
She and Chris Trout, advisor to the board for marketing, expect work on the project to begin this fall. Once final approval for the CUP is received, the board will request bids from general contractors to oversee the future construction.
The ICC site will be available for use, including the summer concerts, through August. On Sept. 1, the ICC board will close the site for a year, including the playground, to begin groundbreaking. Initial site development will be the driveways, parking and landscaped walkways. The amphitheater, for concerts and theatrical performances, will be part of this phase.
Ken Dahleen, who founded and produces the Idyllwild Summer Concert Series, is already preparing for the 2016 concerts at the current location on the ICC site.
“We’re definitely going ahead with the summer concerts as we have in the past. There will be eight concerts,” Dahleen said. The first one will be July 7, the first Thursday after the Fourth of July.
Except for a huge snowfall, the summer tourists are an important component of the local economy. The board is aware of these opportunities, which is why it chose to delay closing the site until the summer attractions have ended, Trout said.
Much of the preparation work for the parking and amphitheater can begin during the fall, some may continue during winter, and it can be completed next spring, in time for summer, the board hopes.
“The result will be a much-improved outdoor experience on the site,” Lyle said proudly, “enhancing the use for Pickleball, the Second Saturday events and Tai Chi.”
This work will cost between $1 and $2 million, which the board has already raised. The next part of Phase 1, the building, will begin in the future but requires more fund raising.
Following the successful fundraiser in September 2015, the board is planning another fundraiser on the site in June.
“Phase 1B will see the Butterfield Family Center, the community’s place to come together in a multi-use facility for activities and programs that serve the needs and interests of our diverse and deserving citizens, become a reality,” Trout wrote in an email. “Phase 2, the Recreation Center and Phase 3, the indoor pool, will be built as funds are available.”
Riverside County has approved nearly all the steps and imposed conditions, such as van-accessible parking, hours of operation and a water-quality management plan. The final hurdle, according to Lyle and Trout, is the will-serve letter from Idyllwild Water District to the county Planning Department.
The ICC site has had a water meter available for several years. Lyle and Trout said this will be sufficient for the first stages of construction. When work on the building is ready, another will-serve letter for a larger meter will be necessary, they said.
IWD General Manager Tom Lynch would not confirm whether the existing meter is sufficient or not. He is discussing the first phase water demand — such as number of fixtures and capacity — with the county.
ICC representatives also expect the county Planning Commission to hold a public hearing when the CUP is on the agenda for approval. That information will be announced, Lyle and Trout promised.
Satisfying the county’s needs in order to grant approval, the ICC board had to furnish reports on archaeological findings, traffic control plans for events, a tree analysis and exemption report, environmental- and biological-site assessments, an acoustical study, a greenhouse gas analysis, a photometric study, and air- and water-quality reports.
Individuals and organizations wishing to use the site for a planned activity or event until Sept. 1, 2016 may email [email protected].