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Volunteer Opportunities Available At Wildomar Parks

“Call us at City Hall and we’ll find a way for people to get involved in our parks,” said City Manager Frank Oviedo.

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.

Murrieta Momma June 23, 2011 at 06:55 PM
I'm there, come join me and my family!
Ken Mayes June 24, 2011 at 12:12 AM
Here we go again, the intention is a good one but the method is full of holes. Someone needs to set up a foundation so that they have a say in what their time and money is applied to, not just the people that tried to bring you a new tax. Without a foundation there may also be a problem with claiming your donation on your taxes. Out of 2300+ votes I find hard to believe that there is not a least one lawyer and one accountant willing to set up a proper foundation so that the people that are interested in donating have some say as to what gets done. If you think a foundation won't work, just google "park foundation in conjunction with city parks", it's been happening all over the country for years.
Andria June 24, 2011 at 05:09 AM
Personally, I don't care about a donation receipt for my park donation, and I trust our current city council to use the money wisely for the parks. Gees, everything doesn't really have to be so complicated.
Andria June 24, 2011 at 05:14 AM
My family is interested in donating some time monthly for park clean-up, and in making my donation (non-tax deductible fine with me) to do our part. I'm wondering since resources are so limited, if it would be better to work towards choosing one park to direct the resources towards rather than trying to spread whatever money and volunteers we have on all all three parks. Just a thought.
Ray A June 24, 2011 at 01:54 PM
Last evening I visited Windsong Park for what will soon come to an end. There were children playing in the playground, mothers and fathers walking their babies in their strollers, a group of ten to fifteen teenage boys waiting to play a little pickup basketball, a middle-aged gentleman shooting baskets, several mothers teaching a group of little girls to play volleyball, and young couples just enjoying a happy place where they can bring their babies and contemplate life. Mayor Swanson says this park will be fenced up at the end of the month. This loss is personal to me. I promised my lifeless neighbor kid that I would do everything I could do to reopen this park. My sorrow and bitterness may seem to be disproportionate, but I don't think so. Our kids should have to safe place to play and our neighbors should have a park to bring us together. I will never understand the heartlessness of those who took our parks away. They have made life a little darker and sadder for their questionable motives.
Ken Mayes June 24, 2011 at 03:23 PM
It's apparent that nobody wants to get of their rear-end and do it right. So go ahead and throw your money and time away. The fact is that there will be no major contributors to the parks without some type of benefit to them be it tax right off or some kind of deal from the city. You all deserve what you get. All the whining in the world is going to fall on deaf ears.
Hillary June 24, 2011 at 03:35 PM
Ken~ I actually researched a solution and forwarded it to Bridgette Moore. She and others are looking into it. I hope it is possible for someone to set it up. It suggests the set up of a 501c. non-profit organization that collects money from residents, giving the donor the chance to use the donation as a tax write off. If roughly half of the residents(7,000 or so) donate twice a year, once in June and again in January, $12.50 both times then the money needed to keep all three parks running will be met. Through the websites I researched I estimated it would take 3 to 5 months for full set-up. I'm not sure if they want to do this, it will be a lot of work and money involved, but the end result would be worth it!
David Pereira June 24, 2011 at 04:09 PM
Ken you really are a curmudgeon. I know you think you're being the voice of reason but you're really only inflaming the rest of the people. Some people are extremely sad about this and you're not helping. If you're so intelligent and driven, why don't you use your knowledge and help the other side of this fight. Those of us that want the parks to stay open could really benefit from you taking charge and making this happen. Think about it, if you were the person who was responsible for setting up the foundation to save the parks, you could run for City Council next election and easily win. You could be a Councilor instead of a curmudgeon.
Stacy B. June 24, 2011 at 04:45 PM
As a former Girl and Boy Scout leader I think this would be an excellent opportunity for Scout involvement. We have many Troops in Wildomar now as well as plenty of High School students whom need community service. This seems like the perfect opportunity.
Ken Mayes June 24, 2011 at 05:36 PM
David Not a curmudgeon, just realistic. This country has turned into a bunch of whiner's that want everyone to pay for their wants and if they don't get everyone to pay for their wants they throw a tantrum and start name calling. If people want it bad enough then they need to get off their a** and do it.
John Lloyd June 24, 2011 at 06:01 PM
I think it would be wonderful for an attorney and a CPA to pull together and create a Foundation for Parks in Wildomar. Generally in order to create a Foundation you have to have a large contributor to provide seed money that assures the Foundation can continue for at least 5 years of audits and also provide funding for compiling the annual tax forms and other filings necessary to maintain Foundation status. Another option as Hillary mentions is the creation of the 501c non-profit, such as "Friends of the Parks" or something along those lines with a specific mission statement aligned to accept private funding for use in maintaining Wildomar Parks. The City Council will need to provide guidance to the community on that kind of consideration. Initially the community may want to ask the Rotary or the WCC if they would be willing to have a financially isolated sub-committee under their 501c authority until a new 501c can be created. There are lots of options for accepting funding for Parks.
Ken Mayes June 24, 2011 at 06:50 PM
A foundation is a 501c corporation. All you need is an idea and someone willing to do the paperwork. It takes very little money to start. The only reason I mention lawyer and cpa is so that the paperwork gets filed in the proper order so as to obtain the maximum tax benefit, unless of course you want to do your own research. As for tax returns they are no more complicated than doing your own taxes if a cpa sets up your books. And when I say little money I mean less than $500 in California, unless you have to pay for that lawyer or cpa. Also you can be up and running in about a month from the time you file your paperwork.

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