‘It was a board decision,’ said Richardson

Danny Richardson, American Legion Post 800 commander, said his board has decided to close the Legion as a community Warming Center. “It was a board decision,” said Richardson, a strong advocate for using the Legion as a warming center. “They had concerns over liability.” Richardson said he has already notified the county and the Community Action Partnership.

The Legion had operated as a Warming Center from 2011 through the end of 2015, in conjunction with CAP. The Legion ran the center, self-activated and used the communication network of Mountain Disaster Preparedness to notify residents when the center would be open. The off-Hill CAP provided support.

After a hiatus, following CAP’s decision to move the center from the Legion to Town Hall in January 2016, the Legion signed a new agreement with CAP in late 2016 to operate as a Warming Center for 2017. The center stayed open until 8 p.m. during recent cold snaps with Richardson and wife Terri hosting.

“I know this [decision by the board] is taking a lot away from the community,” said Richardson. He said he had to follow the board’s decision but would work to find ways to answer their liability concerns. “I’m going to still work on it and look at it.” He said he would contact the county to see what suggestions they might have about the liability concerns of his board and how the county might be able to help. “Personally, I want to get it back to help the community.”

With the Legion decision, there is no longer a Warming Center that could stay open in the evening. Both Town Hall and the Idyllwild Library will welcome individuals needing a warm break during regular business hours.