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Tuesday, Oct 15 2013 06:00 AM

Master Plan: Tehachapi's parks get a new recreational roadmap

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Philip Marx Central Park at Mojave and "E" Streets in downtown Techachapi, is just one of eight Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Parks facilities that are included in the district's new Master Plan that was approved by directors on Oct. 3. The plan will be used to guide the district towards the future of its leisure and recreational services. Photo by Matthew Martz/Tehachapi News.

It's been 18 months and lots of planning, but the Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Parks District has a new recreational roadmap.

Approved by the board of directors on Oct. 3, the district's master plan received it's first update since 1992.

"This is a monumental task and is the result of hard work by the entire community," said District Manager Matt Young. "I appreciate the support, time and effort that went into this."

Originally expected to be completed and ready for the board's approval back in July, the completed document was delayed as the district hammered out several inconsistencies in the draft with Fullerton-based consulting group MIG -- who was retained by the district in February of 2012, to prepare a comprehensive Recreation and Parks Master Plan.

Now completed and approved, the Master Plan will become a concrete document, which will then be adopted and used to guide the district towards the future of its leisure and recreational services.

On hand to praise the board and district staff for its accomplishment was City Manager Greg Garrett.

"I couldn't be happier, it's been years and years in the making," he said.

The journey to draw up a new plan began on Nov. 1, 2011, when a special meeting was held by the board that included a presentation by Jim Picket of MIG explaining the process his firm would use to develop a master plan for the parks and recreation district.

Two weeks later on Nov. 15, 2011, the board voted 4-0 to move ahead with creation of a master plan process at its regular meeting, selecting MIG to assist in its development at a cost of appoximatley $153,000.

The work and steps taken since that time, included several community workshops, months of assessing and collecting information, evaluating park sites, analyzing data, board discussions and numerous public input meetings.

An additional public workshop is also being planned for early November 2013, to discuss the specifics of the new plan and to let the community know how the district will utilize it.

"We climbed a mountain," board clerk Carrie Champlain said. "And made it all the way here today."

Pool remains closed

Residents have become restless waiting for Tehachapi's only public swimming pool to reopen, and according to Young, it's going to be a little while longer before swimmers are able to take a dip.

Young did not provide an actual reopening date, but said he expects the board to award the Dye Natatorium remodeling bid at tonight's regular TVRPD board meeting.

"Remodeling efforts would begin immediately following board approval," he said.

Closed since May 8, after mold was discovered in two areas, the aging Dye Natatorium has been undergoing a major makeover, which began with the installation of a new, more modern roof in June.

Since then, the facility has undergone structural abatement and demolition.

Now that the mold has been eradicated, the building will undergo the final step in its long overdue renovation, which will include a paint job and a facelift to the restroom facilities, lobby and office areas.

Noteworthy upgrades also include low voltage LED lighting and electric hand dryers, improved lifeguard safety equipment, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant restroom, showers and change room upgrades, and the installation of a compliant chairlift to facilitate pool access.

"These county, state and compliance upgrades, will bring the facility up to current building code(s) and accessibility standards," Young said. Board meeting tonight

A meeting of the Board of Directors of the Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Parks District is set for 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 15, to be held at the district headquarters, 490 W. "D" St., Tehachapi.

Items on the agenda include:

* Review of bids for improvements and repairs to Dye Natatorium (swimming pool).

* A presentation from David Brust, organizer of Saturday's Tehachapi Apple Festival, about a proposed Tehachapi Mountain Brew and Grill Festival to be held at Brite Lake. No date was noted in the agenda.

* Authorization for submission of grant application to East Kern Air Pollution Control District for replacement of a district vehicle with a low emission vehicle.

* Approval of expenditure of $3,000 for legals fees to create a non-profit organization to be called the Tehachapi Parks Foundation for the exclusive benefit of TVRPD.

* Increasing salary of General Manager, as budgeted. General Manager Matt Young was hired in March at an annual salary of $76,500; the proposed increase would be to $78,840 per year.

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