While there is no official word yet that an $ 8 million grant to purchase property and develop a new park and community center will be approved, the Tehachapi Valley Recreation & Park District board of directors has took action on October 19 to prepare for funding for the project.
In March, the district submitted a grant application and concept design for Round 4 of the Proposition 68-funded Statewide Park program, a 2018 state park bond. At the time, the District Director, Corey Torres, said the planned project is for vacant 2.2 acres of land on the corner of Cherry Lane and Tucker Road, just south of Dollar General. The project would include a park and community center, including a playground, open green space, several courtyards and an elevated performance stage.
The recreation building would have a single regulation size high school basketball court with painted lines to also accommodate volleyball and pickleball. The building would have a large community hall to accommodate community classes, meetings and other types of gatherings. Torres said the project had been developed following community feedback for several months before the grant application was submitted.
Decisions on the grant were originally due to be made this month, but could be delayed, Torres told the board. However, he said he had received inquiries from state officials and believed there was a good chance that the district’s request would be approved.
But, he said in a staff report, in order to receive Proposal 68 funding, the district will need to finance the construction of the project with its own resources and will be reimbursed with the grant funding. He recommended securing $ 8,065,000 in funding from Oppenheimer, the company that recently funded the district’s skatepark project.
Although the grant, if approved, would pay off the loan’s $ 8 million, the district would be responsible for the issuance cost of $ 65,000, consisting mostly of legal fees and Oppenheimer’s fees, Torres said. The amount could be funded over the life of the loan or paid out of pocket at closing.
The board would not borrow the $ 8 million if the grant is not approved, but would assume the $ 65,000.
Vice-Chairman Kaleb Judy, who chaired the meeting, expressed concern about the risk of the expense. Torres replied that he thinks it’s a necessary risk. On a 3-0 vote, the board ordered Torres to go ahead with the funding proposal. Council members present were Judy, Dwight Dreyer and Maryann Paciullo. President Ian Steele and director Sandy Chavez were not in attendance.