Parks bond measure a 'go'
Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Park District
August 4, 2018
On July 24 at their regular board meeting, the Board of Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Park District voted unanimously to place a $43 million bond measure on the Nov. 6 ballot. On hand to answer questions were Jon Isom of Isom Advisors, a division of Urban Future, Inc. who conducted the survey and analyzed the data. It was Isom's recommendation that although slightly shy of the two-thirds vote needed to pass the bond, it was close enough to move forward.
Since that survey, TVRPD has held five public meetings at the Aspen Builders, Inc. Activity Center at West Park. During those meetings, General Manager Michelle Vance explained that the upgrade of existing facilities will happen before a new community center will be built.
The park district was founded in 1959 to build and maintain a pool. Since that time the district has added West Park and acquired Central Park from the City, Meadowbrook Park from the Golden Hills CSD, Morris Park from a local family and manages Brite Lake which is owned by the Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District. According to TVRPD District Manager Michelle Vance, in the last 18 years, district revenues have increased 4.1 percent while the community has grown 28 percent and the original facilities have been deteriorating faster than they can be repaired.
In accordance with the 2013 Master Plan and current needs, Meadowbrook Park will be allotted $1.5 million for upgrades, trees and irrigation. Central Park will be allotted $500 thousand for trees, bathrooms, picnic space and board games. Brite Lake will be allotted $1.3 million for showers, a playground, ADA compliant dock, updated septic (built in 1975) and dump stations. West Park will receive $4 million for bathrooms, parking, a new skate park, pickleball courts and to fix the drainage system. All uphill drainage currently runs through West Park. Currently undeveloped Morris Park by Tehachapi High School will be turned into a sports complex with regulation size ball fields for soccer and baseball. There will be $8 million set aside for that development.
The new community center, to be located at the site of the current Little League fields, is currently planned to be 43,000-square-feet and will cost approximately $29.3 million to complete. It will include an outdoor lap pool and indoor year-round pool, basketball courts, exercise space, a community room, kitchen and smaller rooms for classes and meetings. A child watch area is also planned. During a recent meeting, the local Tehachapi SENIOR CENTER voted to support the project and plans to use the new facility for their activities. Drawings of the new center are available at TVRPD and online.
Vance said that TVRPD expects the center to be self-sustaining through memberships and use fees and will be open to everyone whether or not they are in the district. Visitors from outside of Tehachapi will also be welcome and pay fees to use the center. The district is planning to add only four new employees.
"We are going to stay within the budget," said Vance. "The project will be scaled back if expenses go too high."
According to Isom, the bonds will be sold over a four year period so the entire project may take as little as four or as many as six years to complete. Taxpayers can expect a property tax increase of $39 per $100,000 of assessed value (not market value) on their annual bill.
Although not everyone at the meeting supported the project, there were an equal number of supporters present.
"Facebook doesn't always reflect the community," said Brenda Smith, a local mom.
Board member and attorney Caleb Judy admitted he had reservations at first, "but I have four little kids growing up here...I back the projects."
Board Vice President Ian Steele said, "We are all vested in this community."