Menifee residents living east of the I-215 have long enjoyed an abundance of beautiful, modern looking parks, while residents living west of the I-215 have found their parks old and few.
The City of Menifee is now looking to balance out that disparity.
Parks located east of the I-215 are owned by Valley Wide Parks & Recreation, a massive district covering much of Western Riverside County that collects tax assessments from property owners and builds parks.
Meanwhile, parks located west of the I-215 are owned by the City of Menifee. The city contracts with the County of Riverside to maintain the parks and collect assessments from property owners.
Property owners on the Valley Wide side pay much higher assessments, as much as three times as many as those on the City-owned side. Yet, residents living on the city-owned side make frequent trips over the I-215 to enjoy Valley Wide parks.
|West of the I-215 parks are city owned, East of the I-215 parks are Valley Wide owned|
To balance out the disparity, the city is considering stepping up its city-owned parks, but how to do that is something they still haven't figured out.
Last night at the Menifee Citizens Advisory Committee (MCAC), participants listened to a presentation by Rob Johnson, senior management analyst for the City of Menifee, who laid out several scenarios...
- Take over Valley Wide's portion of Menifee. This was described as the most unlikely scenario. First Valley Wide must agree to relinquish that portion of its district, Second the residents must hold a public vote, and Three, Valley Wide must be compensated for the investment they put into developing those parks.
- Have Valley Wide take over all of Menifee. Despite rumors, Valley Wide has no immediate plans to administer parks throughout all of Menifee, even though Valley Wide already holds a sphere of influence all the way out to Quail Valley. Another public vote must be taken to go through with this. But then the City loses its ability to program and schedule unique events pertinent to Menifee's culture and history.
- The City creates its own parks and recreation department, overseen by a Parks & Recreation Commission, or Community Services Commission. The city currently has something like this already in place; it's actually contracted through the County's Economic Development Agency.
The last option was voted on by MCAC as the most desirable option.
But while MCAC doesn't hold any power as a policy-making body, its vote provides a "vote of confidence" to the City Council who will make the ultimate decision.
Having its own parks & recreation department and its own policy making body gives the city a means to work with developers in creating new parks.
Should the city allow Valley Wide to take over ALL parks in Menifee, including west of the I-215? Or should the city establish its own Parks & Rec Department?