Recreation Commish paints a big picture

 The future is … in the future

There was no hand-wringing or shortened breaths; no anxiety or rattled nerves.

Rather, the Mammoth Recreation Commission on Tuesday, May 21, engaged in a kind of recreational cartography, aimed ultimately at putting Mammoth’s recreation priorities on a single, easy-to-read map.

“We’re trying to see what the process is going to be,” said Sean Turner, a commission member who was in on the think tank.

It was a session that is part of a series of workshops that would be completed by early September, according to the commission’s work schedule. By then, with all the pieces in place, both short term and long term, the Town Council will weigh in, giving the map a thumbs-up or thumbs-down.

In drawing such a map, the commissioners on Tuesday said they had to pull back from any and all discussions of funding, for fear of confusing what Mammoth needs and what Mammoth wants.

“If we were to spend all our money on low hanging fruit,” intoned Commissioner Pat Agnitch, “we would never get to the truly big projects.”

Commissioner Teri Stehlik agreed, and said, “To do otherwise, we’d be sitting here 10 years from now still talking about the same things.”

Or, as Public Works Director Ray Jarvis put it, “As soon as you start talking about money, this [process] becomes super complicated.”

The list of projects, both big and small, was a fairly easy list to comprehend. It included:

  • A field house/recreation center
  • A high-altitude facility and program plan that would include training, low-cost housing, dining, support, and coordination among already existing entities such as the Mammoth Track Club and Mammoth Mountain Ski Area
  • A multi-use outdoor facility
  • Playing fields
  • Tennis courts
  • An aquatic center
  • A performing arts center
  • A transportation network
  • Nordic facilities and area
  • Snow play areas
  • Staging areas, for both winter and summer, motorized and non-motorized
  • Biking
  • Fish stocking
  • Museum enhancements, including Hayden Cabin
  • Existing facilities

The real trick is in “finding the balance” between what is possible in the short term, and what is strictly a long-term proposition, Agnitch said.

In trying to figure out a process for finding such balances, the commission on Tuesday began by using a blueprint from Oakland, which faced a similar situation in 2004.

The next meetings on the topic will occur on June 4 and 18, according to the commission schedule.