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Rec district considers selling property to charter school

Should the Central Plumas Recreation and Park District sell a parcel of land that it owns adjacent to its facilities in East Quincy to the Plumas Charter School?

The district’s board of directors considered that topic during its Aug. 27 meeting.

The land, which is currently vacant, is part of a larger parcel that the district had previously earmarked for ball fields, a gymnasium and more. It currently sits vacant and is directly east of the rec district’s facilities near the fairgrounds.

James Shipp, the rec district’s general manager, and Taletha Washburn, charter school superintendent, led the discussion. Three of five board members — Laurie Sturley (board chair), Jeremy Pilkington and Rick Leonhardt — were in attendance.

Plumas Charter had planned to build on a Kelsey Lane site near Quincy High School, but found it to be cost prohibitive.

The idea is that the charter school would buy a portion of the recreation district’s vacant parcel to build its new school. Plumas Charter would then enter into an agreement with the rec district to pay to use the adjacent facilities for its students.

A special use permit application has been submitted to Plumas County, and Assistant Planning Director Rebecca Herrin confirmed that her department is researching the request.

Both Washburn and Shipp stressed that this is just the initial stage of determining if this is a viable option, but were optimistic that it could make for a good partnership.

“This could create a situation that benefits the rec department if we’re a long standing partner,” Washburn said.

“We would create a use agreement to use the facilities,” she said, “that would not have a negative impact on other uses.”

The facilities adjacent to the proposed school include a playground, pool, tennis and basketball courts, a skate park and more.

“There is an incredible amount of potential,” she said.

But, according to Jim Boland, the former director of the recreation district, who attended the meeting as a private citizen, he fears the exact opposite could be true.

He said that by entering into such an agreement the district would lose its potential to develop the area for its own future needs and render the district no longer master of its own destiny.

Boland presented a history to the board of the decisions made on that property and the blueprint for its future. He also discussed the contracts that exist with other partners such as Feather River College and what would happen if those weren’t renewed. The parcel was always viewed as a fallback position to offer sports fields to area youth if others became unavailable.

Initially, discussions focused around the school leasing the property, but the requirements of its USDA loan requires that the property be purchased.

Plumas Charter is working with an attorney to draft an agreement that would see the property and school revert to the recreation district if the school were to close for whatever reason or if it defaulted on its USDA loan.

The public will have the opportunity to weigh in on the topic as the county proceeds through the special use permit process.

It is also scheduled to be on the rec district’s September board meeting when General Manager Shipp will ask the directors to form an ad hoc committee to study the details of the sale and its ramifications.

The directors present expressed cautious optimism about the plan.

“It’s possibly a win-win situation,” Pilkington said and Leonhardt and Sturley agreed that it was worth further investigation.

General Manager Shipp said that if the parcel could be divided in half — leaving a portion available for ball fields — “we could have a partner in crime.”

He added that the partnership has “the capability of doing great things for all …”

Boland told the group that it’s not an equitable situation if there isn’t enough room for sports fields after the parcel is split.

The pool

The pool is closed for the season, but it’s not forgotten and will be the focus of ongoing fundraising efforts for necessary renovations.

Shipp reported that the movie night showing of “Mega” proved to be a “phenomenal time.” The decorations — tiki torches, harbor posts and more — will be used at other events and there will be more movie nights next year, after “it blew up on Facebook the day after.” Shipp credited Amber Marshall and Nikki Hall for their work on the event.

Mountaineer

“The next big thing is the Mountaineer,” Shipp told the directors. “It could be one of our biggest fundraisers.”

It is scheduled to be held Nov. 2-3 at the Plumas Pines Golf Resort in Blairsden.

The event is described as five miles of slip ’n’ slides, hills and obstacles. It all begins with a 200-foot slide and then running mingled with six more slides and 12 obstacles.

Details can be found on the recreation district’s website at cprpd.com.

Finances

The 2018-19 fiscal year ended with actual revenue of $414,807 (compared to the $390,275 budgeted) and actual expenses of $364,369 (compared to the $384,934 budgeted).

Shipp also highlighted the donations made by Beatty Construction, Cal-Sierra Title, Mountain Graphic Design, and Quincy Rotary for T-shirts for the youth soccer program that totaled more than $3,800.

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