CALIFORNIA CITY — For the first time in months, the California City Parks and Recreation Commission at city hall on Friday, Oct. 2 in large part to see where the city will go with recreation during the pandemic.
The commission also heard requests from the East Kern Historical Museum Society regarding a location for all of its memorabilia, according to Michael Edmiston.
The society lost its building during a fire in 1981 in the location of the Par 3 on the Tierra de Sol golf course, with all of its contents.
“Since then we’ve collected additional items and memorabilia of historical interest,” Edmiston said. “We are also in the process of getting back some equipment that has been on display at the Silver Saddle Ranch.”
Silver Saddle Ranch currently remains in a court-appointed receivership and is on the market of $1.8 million following a lawsuit brought on by the state over fraudulent land sale activity. The ranch itself has been closed down for nearly a year.
With the items being returned, the society finds itself in need of a new location to store and present its exhibits.
“It could be a point of destination and it will provide history and information about East Kern as well,” Edmiston said.
One location Edmiston said has been a topic of discussion is the Bob Parker Scout Lodge located on the lake across from Central Park. Edmiston said that based on conversations with other people, “scouting is disappearing and our city is no different than what is going on in the world right now.”
He noted lodge “isn’t adequately being used at the current time” and would serve as a suitable location for a museum.
Edmiston said he spoke with the Parker family and “they felt very comfortable letting the property being used for something else.”
Patricia Gordon, president of the historical society, noted that even after their old site burned down, the organization has hosted several events.
“We would like to have a home to show artifacts and educate people,” Gordon said. “We’ve gone to the schools, we’ve educated little kids to high school ... but we need more volunteers and people to work with us.”
Joe Barragan, the current chair for Cal City’s sole Boy Scout troop, said no troop meetings have been held since February due to the pandemic. He added lodge currently lacks power and was waiting on Southern California Edison to flip the switch.
He added while the Boy Scouts have a 20-year lease with the city on using the building, it might be possible to use the Par 3 building for scouting activities, freeing up the Bob Parker Scout Lodge.
A request would include removing the scout lodge sign and relocate it to the Par 3 building and place a plaque in the lodge explaining what the building was in the past.
Commissioner Carolinda Fleming said the idea had a lot of potential, with scouts using the Par 3 area for camping and other activities.
“Par 3 is a lot of property,” Fleming said. “And there is still a lot of room outside of Bob Parker’s iron rod fence where they could camp very successfully ... it would be easier to pitch a tent there.”
City Manager Anna Linn recommended that a more comprehensive presentation should be provided to the commission before further action was taken.
Central Park ideas
Robert Milner with Baker Energy, a company currently planning to build micro solar grids in the city, brought up some ideas about Central Park and the area around the ruined Lake Shore Inn.
Milner said the property could be utilized for recreation properties and to address security issues.
“Living on the Par 3, I see a lot of nighttime traffic from vehicles, ATVS and people going through the golf course at night. If you live there, it’s a safety issue,” he said.
Milner noted Central Park buildings “have a lot of wasted energy” that could be rendered more energy-efficient through US Department of Agriculture grants.
He added it would eventually save the city more money and divert that funding toward youth programs.
Baker Energy currently has plans to convert the old inn into an energy data canter that “will bring education and energy together while providing a work-live space with over 80 units for custom affordable smart homes with 2MW of energy storage and microgrid data center,” according to the project description.
Milner said Baker Energy’s number one priority coming to California City was solving energy problems.
“In doing so, we realized that the parks, as well as some things in the city, could be brought to a more efficient state,” Milner said. “Our company is willing to -- at no cost to the city -- start to go in and work on all these grants to utilize programs in place for the city to save money.”
He also noted a desire to re-establish a waterfall at the lake and working with local partnerships to start up other programs. Such projects would be funded via grants or private money.
“A lot of people in our network are very excited about Cal City,” he said. “It’s like a blank canvas or diamond in the rough.”
Milner said a website, California City Parks Modernization Project at calcitypark.com/ went live providing examples of possible improvements to the city.