Fraser Rec District taxpayers hear from Grand Park developer
September 11, 2008
Grand Park developer Clark Lipscomb publicly addressed issues about the recreation center during Tuesday’s Fraser Valley Metropolitan Recreation District meeting.
Lipscomb spoke about the proposed name for the rec center and the reversionary clause in the contract between the district and Grand Park, which is donating the 4.9 acres for the rec center site.
Controversy over these issues and others related to the recreation center has simmered for months. A group of district residents called the Concerned Citizens are threatening lawsuits and have filed a petition with the District Court for a recall of three of the district’s board members over their approval of the contract with Grand Park.
According to the contract between the district and Grand Park, the recreation center will be named the “Grand Park Community Recreation Center or a name that is mutually agreeable to both parties.”
Opponents have objected strongly to the naming of the rec center after Grand Park, arguing it is district taxpayers’ money that is funding the project.
During the open forum at the start of Tuesday’s meeting, district resident Jill Suffin asked Lipscomb to consider a compromise solution that would rename it “The Fraser Valley Community Recreation Center at Grand Park.”
Lipscomb thanked Suffin for her respectful, non-confrontational suggestion, explaining that “most people” have not approached him about the issue in that manner.
While saying he would consider her suggested name change, he said, “We probably won’t until the community embraces this project in the fashion that it should be embraced.”
Lipscomb went on to say the public also needs to appreciate the “size of the donation” that Grand Park is making to the project. The 4.9 acres it is donating is worth more than $4 million, he said.
Another name suggested for the rec center at Tuesday’s meeting was the “Cozens Recreation Center,” because it will be built on land that was formerly known as Cozens Ranch.
The reversionary clause
About the contract’s reversionary clause, Lipscomb assured those present that it was not a trick or trap devised to take away the rec center, as some opponents have suggested.
The clause requires the donated property to revert to its original owner if the building does not operate as a recreation center for more six consecutive months.
“The intent of this reversionary clause is to insure that this facility is and always remains a public, community recreation facility,” he said.
Lipscomb stressed this would remain so “regardless of the name, regardless of the board and regardless if ever it does run into financial issues.”
He also argued the reversionary clause is a “pretty standard deal, and the six months that was added was put in at the request of this board.”
Greg Gallavan, the only district board member to vote against the contract last month, confirmed Lipscomb’s statement and explained he had since learned that reversionary clauses are quite common in contracts involving land donations.
He said a similar reversionary clause was in place for the Pole Creek Golf Course.
During the discussion, district resident Jim Cordell suggested the district renegotiate the contract. To that suggestion, Lipscomb said Grand Park would not renegotiate it. However, he said it would not take advantage of some unforeseen event to retake possession of the property.
“If there’s a fire, there’s not a reversionary interest. It wouldn’t happen,” he said.
Work on the rec center
Ground-breaking for the rec center took place in mid-August and work is now under way.
At Tuesday’s meeting, it was reported that Big Valley Construction of Granby, which is the general contractor for the project, has begun perimeter and drain work as well as the setting of the stem walls. Concrete for the building’s slab will be poured this week.
About $1.5 million has already been spent on the recreation center. It is part of the $19.5 million bond issue district voters approved last November.
Grant earmarked for pellet boiler
In a related matter Tuesday, Rec. District Director Scott Ledin announced that a $30,000 grant was received from the Governor’s Energy Office’s Biomass Fuels Division. That grant will make possible the installation of a wood pellet boiler in the rec center to save on heating costs as well as use a local energy source from the trees killed by the pine beetle.
Clubhouse work begins
Work has also begun on construction of the new clubhouse at Pole Creek Golf Course. A total of $273,000 has already been spent. The project is also part of last fall’s bond issue.
Next meeting rescheduled
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the board rescheduled its next meeting to Tuesday, Sept. 30, at 5:30 p.m. in the public meeting room at the Winter Park Town Hall.