The board of the Tehachapi Valley Recreation & Park District agreed on a potential site design for a recreational center called The Yard during at its Aug. 14 board meeting. It would be built if the $43 million parks bond, Measure R, passes on Nov. 6. The details of a final Community Center Feasibility Study were reviewed.
“This has been a process even though it is now forefront. This is a long time coming and we are excited to bring this to Tehachapi,” said Laura Lynne Wyatt, chairperson of the park district's board.
The center would be at West Park; this location was selected due to the proximity to downtown, existing infrastructure and its central location.
A layout of two new pools with one pool deck, senior rooms, fitness and gymnasium, child day care, playground, multipurpose room, skate park, green sports area, plus other features was in the design layout.
“We planned an indoor leisure pool with lap lanes and that has a child friendly atmosphere. It also has a zero depth entry area that allows you to ease into the water and a lazy river, so you can do resistance training,” said Michelle Vance, park district manager.
Two stakeholder meetings consisted of community members who use the current facilities. They included stakeholders from all walks of life — basketball referees, umpires, swim team coaches, Little League board members, community leaders and others, Vance said.
The final design of 54,797 feet was selected from from the majority of attendees voting for the design at the June 28 public meeting; stakeholders and staff selected the layout as well, added Vance. The public and stakeholders had three choices that presented different types of layouts of the building and surrounding areas of parking lots and green space.
The new budget to cover costs for the community center is $25.9 million with another $4 million for West Park site improvements.
“Revitalization is critical. We have health and safety issues we need to address due to the age of infrastructure and facilities. Our restrooms, for example, are on septic and sewer and many times can’t handle the volume of a large event or increase in population,” Wyatt said.
Vance said that the time of design, construction documents, and schedule would be two years, but the construction of the center alone would take two years — another year more than what was previously reported on the approved community center feasibility study, due to bonds being sold.
Recovering costs is a reason given to build a community center, with a building that has a pool and other amenities all in one, and that other programs can cover expenses of some that don't earn a lot of income, said Vance.
“A pool is about a 50 percent cost recovery and we can’t afford to subsidize with the current tax base. A recreation center has 93 percent cost recovery and that is more feasible,” added Vance.
Fees and admission
Admission fees would cover 82 percent to 100 percent of facility costs, based on the community's willingness to pay, what is required to meet cost recovery goals, staffing and other services, said the study.
The current projected prices of annual and daily passes and fees of operation is a baseline. Inflation costs and operating costs may increase fees if goals are not met, said the community center feasibility study.
In the beginning, a parcel tax was considered for a four- to eight-year period to help offset costs, but it is no longer being considered, said Vance.
Seniors would have free access to a shared senior and community hall with a kitchen, patio, rooms and lounge, but would have to purchase a daily or yearly pass to use other areas of the center.
The senior lounge is dedicated to seniors only. The kitchen, three community rooms, patio and lounge can be used by the community at different times from senior use.
Annual pass holders would have access to the teen center, fitness classes, gym, water aerobics, lap and leisure swim, up to two hours of free child day care, and another programs.
The annual pass would not include swim lessons, boot camps, adult and youth leagues, camps, party packages or space rentals.
Monthly membership fees would range from $16 to $63 for residents within the district, depending on whether one buys a single membership or buys for a family of six. There would also be options to pay for single visits.
The proposed bond, Measure R, is based on a $39 per year property tax fee for each assessed property evaluation of $100,000. This is the highest fee survey respondents expressed a willingness to pay on $12-$39 per $100,000.
The measure of support for the highest fee, before the community was provided detailed information, was at 58-61 percent in favor for $39 per $100,000 assessment; with $12 per $100,000 property assessment being the highest at 71 percent to 74 percent in favor. After education, voters responded they were in favor of the bond measure at 63.5 percent, said the survey.
The final price of the bond measure was selected to meet the needs of the community and there is a possibility the cost will go up per property, but the economy has been strong, said Vance.