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ARPD seeks grant funding for the new year

The Almanor Recreation and Park District Board of Directors met Nov. 12 to discuss end-of-year rec district business, including the review and approval of the Oct. 14 and Oct. 22 special meeting minutes.

There will be no regularly scheduled meeting in December due to the holidays; instead, the next board meeting will be held Monday, Jan. 13.

Financials

Board treasurer Susan Espana said the rec district’s net cash reconciliation report for the fiscal year ending Oct. 31 is negative by approximately $940 YTD after expenses.

The operating grants received — $5,500 from the Lake Almanor Community Foundation and another $50,000 from the Collins Pine Co. — are restricted matching funds earmarked for the expansion of recreational facilities and capital improvements only.

The LACF grant went toward the purchase of a new commercial lawnmower for the upkeep of the sports fields and covered the purchase of new soccer jerseys for the U12 team.

The Comparative Total Revenue & Expenses by Program report compared 2018 and 2019 revenues and expenses for each program sponsored by ARPD, showing that the net revenue for 2019 was $2,243 less than the previous year.

Continuing expenses will draw down the budget through the winter months further into the red because there are no programs providing rec district revenue until next year, Espana said.

The Comparative Total Revenue & Expenses by Program report compares 2018 and 2019 revenues and expenses for each program sponsored by ARPD, showing that the net revenue for 2019 is $2,243 less than the previous year. Photo submitted

Per Capita Grant update

Carlos Espana, who has taken the lead in applying for the California State Parks Per Capita grant, updated the board members on his progress.

Grants and community groups are the primary targets for funding improvements of new recreational facilities, according to the ARPD website.

In March, April and May of this year, ARPD conducted public outreach meetings prior to its regular board meetings at the rec district office on Meadowbrook Loop in Chester to seek community feedback for future recreational features.

ARPD owns a 3-acre site, which includes vacant land, the ARPD’s office building and the ARC Community building, leased by Plumas County.

California State Parks is currently in the process of finalizing its Per Capita Grants program, which allocates a minimum of $200,000 to qualified, recreational special districts.

ARPD has been successful in securing the required 20 percent matching funds, and expects the final grant award to be announced in the next few months.

Espana handed each director conceptual sketches depicting a preliminary Draft Master Plan for ARPD showing the location of various recreational facilities created specifically for the district by two students at Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC) as part of their course project.

Espana stated that it was mid-2019 that Professor Kreg Mebust at Truckee agreed to have his landscape-architecture class take on the master planning of the ARPD site at no charge. He wanted a community project for his students to take on a real life experience with ARPD as a client.

The current Draft Master Plan shows the recreational facilities that ARPD hopes to develop over the long term in order of priority.

“ARPD is pleased for the opportunity to interact with creative students as they progress through the steps of master planning,” Espana said.

“TMCC also has specialists on their teaching staff who are very experienced in issues with pump track design and construction, and infrastructure development.”

Advice from these specialists will help ARPD with the many details of the proposed projects, he noted.

The existing plan includes a covered picnic pavilion, a small play area for children, a community garden and landscaping. Next is associated infrastructure, including new parking, restroom facilities, fencing and drainage. Then would come the eventual construction of a skate park, pump track and/or pickle ball courts once additional financing is obtained.

Closer to finalization, the plan would be presented to the community to show what the rec district has in mind for possible future recreational options, inviting public feedback.

Espana noted there would need to be some changes in terminology as well as other modifications made to the current version of the draft master plan to indicate where each of the proposed recreational facilities would best be situated, and designed to be ADA compliant.

Included in the discussion was a consideration of how, during the winter season, the locations of the various proposed structures within the district boundaries would allow snow to slide off from the roofs, and possibly block areas of access.

To that end, the board agreed that further study needed to be carefully undertaken before deciding on exactly where the new structures should be aligned in relation to one another in the final master plan, along with the placement of utilities.

Ease of snow removal and where it would have to be dumped was also covered during the exchange.

Included in the handouts were a series of color pictures, generated to show how each of the recreational facilities might look after completion.

Espana informed the board that he also sent out a packet of the plan to Plumas County Public Works. He said later on in the process the county has a Development Review Committee service at the Building Department for construction guidance, adding that director Charles Plopper and he have been in communication with Supervisor Sherrie Thrall about the new facilities project.

Construction costs for the limited new features under consideration and paid for by the grant would range between $138,000 and $147,000, depending on a number of options and the materials used, Espana estimated, plus a 12 percent contingency budget set aside to cover unexpected costs during the construction phase.

The final cost wouldn’t be known however without an engineering schematic and until a detailed budget was finalized.

Long-term development may also include solar panels to provide a more cost efficient source of electrical power to the facilities once they’re built, board members noted.

Susan Espana stated that she wanted to distribute flyers around town that provided information explaining to the community what the rec district is considering doing to expand its recreational options, while at the same time asking for public input.

Much work lies ahead before actual construction can take place, Carlos Espana said, including final approval of the master plan by the county and the grant provider based on what particular developments are chosen first, as well as required environmental studies, permitting and the establishment of a work force.

Little League contract

The board decided to reevaluate and modify the Little League rental contract for 2020 to reflect more accurately the actual cost to the district for the use of the sports fields, including maintenance.

The exact terms of a new contract would be decided early next year in consultation with Little League organizers.

The ARPD must operate as a self-sufficient organization in order to continue offering recreational programs to the community, board members acknowledged.

Mile High 100 renewal

Next year’s Mile High 100 bike ride was discussed regarding renewal of the contract with Randy Robbins, an avid cyclist and president of the nonprofit Susanville Area Bicycle Association, who has undertaken the position of lead chair for the event over the past two years.

The terms seemed fair, said director Espana, and there appeared nothing about the contract that needed to be changed.

Espana said that in a recent phone conversation with Robbins she had informed him that registration is currently open for next year’s biking event. She was told that he has already been hard at work contacting suppliers and would also shortly be sending out flyers on the Mile High 100 by December to various biking organizations and businesses for display.

She said using a food truck at the event last year made the event easier on board members involved in the fundraiser, because there was less effort needed providing food to the riders.

The board agreed that it was in their interest to streamline the cost of the bike riding event to the district — mentioning in particular the high cost of official T-shirts — by finding better deals from vendors that provide services and products, not only for that event, but for all rec district programs.

Sober Grad Night donation

Board members considered the wording of the Space Use Agreement allowing the use of the Truman-Collins Sports Complex by graduating seniors during Chester High’s Sober Grad Night, when students set up games in a safe, carnival-like atmosphere with food, music and drawings for various prizes.

Board members said they wished to continue supporting Sober Grad Night, as long as it was understood by the school organizers that they needed to be sure to clean up any trash after the event, with field maintenance supervisor Dan Smith stating at the meeting that the students have been pretty good in the past keeping the field clean.

The ARPD board approved a donation of $100 toward the event.

Extravaganza debate

The board debated the appropriateness of ARPD’s role in staging the annual Street Rod Extravaganza car show as a sponsor. While they feel that the show is important to the community and provides local economic benefits, it isn’t strictly a traditional recreational event that the district usually sponsors for its fundraisers, the board members agreed.

They also felt that their volunteer resources are stretched thin, and would like to find other organizations to either hand the event off to, or coordinate with.

Early soccer registration

Espana said she had a debriefing with Bennie Johnson, ARPD fall soccer coordinator and coach, about the success of early spring registration scheduled from May 15 to the end of June, so there would be more practice time before the traveling teams got on the road for games against other schools.

In addition, Espana said that Johnson would add a late registration before fall soccer games begin if teams are not full by then, so that all the kids who want to play can participate.

Also discussed with Johnson said Espana, was the purchase of one or two permanent banners to be placed at each end of town to advertise the dates of registration during soccer season.

Espana said one problem Johnson noted was that the ideal location for the placement of a banner at the east end of town might interfere with other organizations announcing their events.

One solution raised would be to construct a separate wooden frame to hang the soccer banner on that wouldn’t block any other group’s advertisements.

As an aside, Espana said that coach’s discounts would be discontinued, which was approved in a vote by the board members.

Next, a motion was raised by the board that would require parents to pay for their kid’s official soccer pictures during soccer season instead of the rec district, which can cost up to $1,500. This was the norm for soccer teams in rec districts in other towns, Susan Espana pointed out, based on her research.

She went on to say that this year’s soccer program made $1,970 net after expenses for the ARPD, so the cost of providing photos that are normally included with registration was deemed too expensive for the district to continue.

The next regular ARPD meeting is scheduled for Jan. 13, at 6 p.m., in the Almanor Recreation and Park District headquarters building at 101 Meadowbrook Loop in Chester. Call 258-2562 or visit [email protected] for more information.

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