Town Hall up for sale

Recreation activities continue to be popular, Bob Lewis, director of the Idyllwild Community Center recreation program, reported to the Advisory Committee for County Service Area 36 (Idyllwild and Fern Valley) last Thursday night.

For example, the Youth Baseball program has 106 players, from kindergarten to middle school, on 10 teams — the largest number of baseball players in many years. He added, “That’s about one-third of the school population. I’m very happy.”

The Kinders program, which is noon to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday, is popular and has a “… very consistent attendance of 14 to 17 kids daily,” Lewis said.

But the Afterschool program is the single disappointment. “The number of attendees varies,” he lamented. The number of students has been as few as four, and closer to eight or nine.

“I will evaluate the program at the end of the year,” he told the committee. “I’ll look for different things to tweak. Our last resort is to drop it.” The problem, according to Lewis, is the free Afterschool program at Idyllwild School. “It’s hard to compete,” he added.

Committee member Peter Szabadi asked Lewis to confer with the parents, who are using the ICC program, to ensure the effect on them is known and possibly addressed.

Lewis also mentioned plans to meet with representatives of the home school community to explore how programs might be more appealing to these students.

He also announced plans for another summer camp for students from kindergarten to sixth grade. Lewis hopes to offer more field trips to locations off the Hill, such as the Domenigoni Water Park, Temecula Children’s Museum and a family fun center.

“It was very successful last year. We want to make it bigger and better,” he said.

Then Janice Lyle, president of the ICC board, presented the current financial reports. ICC expects a small surplus at the end of 2018, if program attendance achieves the budgeted expectations.

The pickleball courts will be examined this week, Lewis shared. He hopes the manufacturer and local distributor will correct the current surface problems.

One concern about the future of all of the programs, children’s and adults’, was the announcement that the Johnson family has put Town Hall up for sale.

If and when the building might sell, the lease gives ICC a 90-day period to shift its programs elsewhere. Lyle said many of the sports activities occur at the school and would be unaffected.

The building, constructed in 1946, is privately owned and leased to the county for recreation. Its sale puts pressure on ICC for a new facility. Some board members were hopeful grant money might be found to buy and preserve the building as a historical resource.

When the county established the Idyllwild Historic District, Town Hall was deemed a historic resource, even possibly with a national designation.

“Some nonprofits may get involved to preserve the history of the building and convert it into a public theater and concerts,” said resident Kathy Wilson.

Anyone interested in filling the vacant fifth position on the committee should contact Opal Hellweg of Supervisor Chuck Washington’s staff at 951-955-1030. Applications can be downloaded from