ARPD seeks state grant
The unfunded Almanor Recreation and Park District’s mission is to provide recreational options to the community, including youth sports and new trails by sponsoring fundraising events like the Poker Paddle, Mile High 100 bike ride, Hot Rod Extravaganza car show, fall soccer and other programs during the year.
Supplementary sources of income include donations from individuals, community organizations and business sponsorships, and grant opportunities awarded by state agencies.
The solicited funds are then reinvested back into programs and for rec district operations and capital improvements where needed.
Ideas have been under discussion at previous board meetings on expanding potential recreational facilities built within the district’s boundaries, including the construction of a skate park and/or pump track, pickle ball court, Frisbee disc golf, a children’s playground, basketball courts and an indoor swimming pool along with other possible structures, predicated on obtaining future financing using a combination of funding sources including county subsidies, possible tax assessments, grant monies and donations.
The rec district owns a vacant 2 1/2-acre parcel open to development, depending on how it is subsequently zoned.
Prior to the commencement of the ARPD regular board meeting Sept. 9, directors listened to a presentation by volunteer Trails Committee Coordinator Carlos Espana on applying for a grant through the California Department of Parks and Recreation Office of Grants and Local Services (OGALS).
The grant is available under the California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection and Outdoor Access for All Act of 2018, with a General Per Capita Program that allocates matching funding to regional park districts based on population, with a minimum request of $200,000 toward the future development of recreational facilities situated on rec district property.
Espana handed out a multipage procedural guide to each of the board members listing eligible recreational projects and the steps required that must be taken for the rec district to qualify for OGALS.
He explained that the complicated grant request process was available to “low income communities,” requiring a 20 percent match ($40,000), but noted that the application packet must be submitted no later than Jan. 31, 2020 (and a contract signed by the board members to be submitted no later than March 31, 2020).
Espana added that he was aware that a generous donation was recently given to the ARPD in the amount of $50,000 that could be applied to the matching fund requirement, which included $10,000 for design work if the board decided to move ahead on the grant request.
To qualify for the state grant, a list of eligible projects and certification that such projects comply with state labor codes must be submitted in the application packet, including a resolution by the Plumas County Board of Supervisors agreeing to any proposed development on district property, with additional information relating to the rec district along with several other prerequisites.
Furthermore, before the commencement of construction work Espana said the district would need to submit environmental studies, architectural plans and construction permits, with a guarantee of sufficient funds to complete, operate and maintain the project(s), and to secure liability insurance to protect against poor workmanship.
In addition, a designee would have to be identified to conduct all negotiations, sign documents, agreements and payment requests, which would be necessary for the completion of the grant application.
Given the short timeframe left to submit all the paperwork and the detailed work needed to complete the application form before the upcoming deadline, Espana told the board he thought that they might want to wait until next year’s deadline to apply for funds in 2021 instead, to give them more time to meet all the requirements for the OGALS grant.
In the meantime, some of the steps needed to qualify for the grant could begin almost immediately to start the process.
The board agreed to review the information packet and make a decision in the near future on whether or not it was worth the effort.
As volunteers, Almanor Recreation and Park District board members work hard toward the common goal of providing recreational options to the community at large, by organizing programs while also undertaking the long-term vision of developing expanded recreational facilities for Chester residents and youth.
Guests are invited to attend ARPD regular board meetings at the rec district headquarters building, 101 Meadowbrook Loop, at 6 p.m. on the second Monday of the month to provide suggestions and other concerns related to recreation.
The ARPD phone number is 258-2562. Office hours are Tuesday and Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.