The Cambrian

Cambria CSD transfers funds for East Ranch project

As part of its midyear budget adjustments Feb. 26, Cambria’s services district board agreed to transfer $159,256 from a reserve account to the Parks Recreation and Open Space (PROS) Commission for the development of the first phase of the Community Park on East Ranch.

The Cambria Community Services District’s parks agency has scheduled a special meeting at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Veterans Memorial Building, 1000 Main St. 

That meeting will be dedicated to discussing and perhaps approving the re-commendation of having Firma of San Luis Obispo do topographic drawings for Phase 1.

That phase would include a parking lot, restrooms, swales to catch runoff water and other preliminary infrastructure items that are necessary before other assets, such as play fields and a dog park, can be installed.

Community member Elizabeth Bettenhausen complained to CCSD directors Feb. 26 that the Community Park allocation wasn’t on the board’s agenda, and “you never gave the public the opportunity to comment on this.” 

Board President Gail Robinette responded that the park plan “has gone through many phases,” with many opportunities for public input. 

Now that there’s an “ad hoc committee that’s addressing this, there’s no point to an ad hoc if you don’t have funding,” Robinette said.

District General Manager Jerry Gruber said the action is “consistent with the board’s goals and objectives,” adopted at the Jan. 29 meeting, at which the public also could have addressed the issue.

One of those goals stated: “Determine funding sources for the First Phase to implement and complete needed projects related to access to the Community Park” including grading and swales.

“All we’re doing is providing the funding so PROS can proceed,” Director Muril Clift said Feb. 26. He proposed the amendment to the change in the PROS budget. The money would come from a special account into which the district had set aside property-tax money during a time when the state was “borrowing” such tax revenue from special districts. The state no longer has the ability to do that, Clift said, and he recommended that the district reallocate the funds to meet its obligation to the county for an active recreational park.

When the community bought the 430-acre ranch, the county contributed $50,000 in parks funds under the condition that the district develop an active-recreational site on some of the property. That park would help fill a gap between what county parks officials think the North Coast should have in the way of such facilities, and what is currently available here.