Playground security and lighting to be installed

Janice Lyle, president of the Idyllwild Community Center board, discusses the ICC site work and budget with the CSA 36 Advisory Committee. Photo by JP Crumrine

Leaders of the Idyllwild Community Center (ICC) reported on-going construction activities at the ICC site, efforts to improve and augment the recreation program, and the current recreation program offerings during the County Service Area (CSA) 36 Advisory Committee meeting Thursday evening, July 18. CSA 36 serves Idyllwild and Fern Valley.

As soon as the meeting ended, shortly after 6:30 p.m., most of the attendees quickly scurried to the Idyllwild Summer Concert event at the Butterfield Amphitheater.

Current ICC Board President Janice Lyle proudly reported what most already knew: the ICC site parking, playground and Butterfield Amphitheater opened for public use and enjoyment Thursday, July 11. The first event was the first Idyllwild Summer Concert of the 2019 Season.

Stephanie Yost, member of the Idyllwild Community Center board, discusses ICC’s efforts to reach out to the community for more feedback on recreation programs.
Photo by JP Crumrine

The Grand Opening is scheduled for Oct. 19. Between now and then, minor finishing touches will continue, according to Lyle. The permanent county occupancy permit is also expected to be received within the next month. Currently, Riverside County has issued a temporary use permit.

Lyle also mentioned the paint vandalism at the playground the day before its opening. ICC was already in the process of acquiring a security system for several of its sites, including the skate park and pickleball courts. This security system will also be installed at the playground and the amphitheater. Additional lighting will also be installed at the playground.

Will Steichen, a consultant, describes the current recreational programs and the initial plans for fall.
Photo by JP Crumrine

A new refinement at the playground was announced. “The Rotary has donated a three-tier water fountain,” Lyle told the committee. “The drinking levels are for adults, children and pets.”

Lyle also discussed the financial status of the projects and the operations. Both of the contracts with Facility Builders and Erecters (FB&E) of Anaheim for the site development and amphitheater construction are under the awarded amounts. Total costs for Phase 1 and the amphitheater are about $3.1 million.

ICC has already begun investing some funds in the design of Phase 2, Lyle added. A grant application is being prepared for an Aug. 1 submission. If approved, and Lyle is optimistic, this will fund Phase 2 and begin Phase 3.

For FY 2018/19, ICC collected revenue of $255,000 for the recreation programs, of which, $180,000 was the contract with Riverside County for CSA 36 recreation programs. An additional $40,000 were from fees from program participants.

Total expenses were slightly more than $241,000, resulting in a net positive balance of $12,600.

Members of CSA 36 Advisory Committee from left to right: David Hunt, Chad Taylor, Peter Szabadi and John Metroka, chair. Photo by jp crumrine

The CSA 36 cash balance as of July 1, 2018 was $218,250. During the year, revenue from property taxes and the parcel fee totaled $207,000. Expenses, including the ICC contract and county administrative costs, were about $196,000. The expected cash balance beginning this fiscal year will be $229,000, according David Alvarez of the County Economic Development Agency.

Stephanie Yost discussed the recent efforts of ICC to reach out to the community, seeking ideas and suggestions for the recreational programs. The survey can be found at Town Hall or any of the summer concerts at the new Butterfield Amphitheater. It is not available online. 

The survey solicits the community’s interest in sports and health activities, group recreation such as flag football, children’s theater, dancing, classes and family events.

The survey is in addition to the many efforts to make people aware of the recreation opportunities ICC provides. Yost has attended several meetings with parents and invited the Art Alliance to provide programs for children.

Two parents, Stacey Kretsinger and Bo Dagnall, have been invited to join the recreational committee.

Yost’s company has donated iPods and educational software for the kindergarten program. 

Besides improved lighting at the ICC site, Yost promised toilet facilities will also be located near the playground.

Will Steichen, a consultant and current recreation program director, described the current program offerings. The youth baseball season just ended. ICC worked with Camp Maranatha to provide fields, while the Idyllwild School field was being repaired from the winter storm damage.

The Kindergarten program has expanded to include 4-year-olds, increasing this year’s attendance. Steichen noted that the Fitness over 50 program is very popular and has been working to increase the number of weekly classes.

Yost confirmed that the ICC board’s intent is to have a full-time permanent executive director on board by the end of August.

Advisory Committee Chair John Metroka announced that Mark Garrett has resigned from the committee. Supervisor Chuck Washington will be soliciting a new member for the committee.