As Widomar’s fiscal year-end comes to a close June 30, funding to keep the city’s three parks open will dry up.
While the parks’ closure appears imminent come July 1, some resourceful and passionate Wildomar residents are doing what it takes to keep them open.
During Wednesday night’s City Council meeting, options for keeping Marna O’Brien, Windsong and Heritage parks open included letting concerned residents maintain and contribute to the cost of their parks.
Funding is the biggest hurdle for the parks.
On June 7, , which would have imposed an annual $28 special tax on Wildomar property owners to pay for the parks. As a result of the defeat, the parks are unfunded starting July 1.
Assistant City Manager Gary Nordquist said it costs approximately $20,000 per month to maintain the parks, although the city has looked at ways to significantly decrease that number, including reduced irrigation – or no irrigation.
During Wednesday's meeting, some residents said they would pay the $28 assessment to the city, despite Measure D's defeat.
City Councilwoman Bridgette Moore said cash donations in any amount are welcome. Residents can write checks to the city, and note the word “Parks” in the memo.
During the recent election, 2,332 Wildomar voters cast a ballot in favor of Measure D. If all those residents donated $8.58 per month, the money raised would total the current estimated monthly cost to keep the parks open.
In addition to community donations, city staff agreed Wednesday to look into grants, as well as the possibility of pulling a small portion of funding from a community development block grant program starting in fiscal year 2012-13.
Parks' usage fees charged to sports leagues and other organizations are also up for discussion.
“We are not putting anything off the table,” Moore said, and she praised residents who have stepped up to help.
City Manager Frank Oviedo said the city is open to the idea of resident participation in the parks. He conceded there is a liability factor when it comes to volunteer labor, but said the city is very willing to work with people.
Trash and debris cleanup, emptying trash cans, graffiti removal and vandalism repairs are all needed at the parks, Oviedo said.
“and we’ll find a way for people to get involved in our parks,” he said.
For more information on donating or volunteering on behalf of Wildomar parks, call City Hall at 951-677-7751.