Rosamond Foundation

REVERSING COURSE — The Rosamond Community Service District Board is looking into bringing the nonprofit Rosamond Foundation back under the district’s umbrella. The foundation was created to raise funds for parks projects — such as this playground equipment in Jim Williford Park — when the district had responsibility for parks and recreation in the community, but the district relinquished that responsibility last year.

ROSAMOND — The Rosamond Community Services District no longer has responsibility for the community’s parks, but Board Pre­sident Greg Wood would like to bring back the nonprofit Ro­sa­mond Foundation, created to raise money for parks, under the district’s umbrella.

The Rosamond Foundation was organized in 2007 to provide a means of raising funds to sup­port parks-related projects for the district, which had the re­spon­sibility for parks but no dedicated revenue source for them.

The foundation was created to “aid, sponsor, promote, advance and assist in the provision of Ro­sa­mond Community Services Dis­trict water and sewer, public parks, fac­il­ities and recreation in the town of Rosamond and to re­ceive, in­vest and utilize funds ac­quired through fundraisers, donations, grants, gifts, bequests and other so­licitations for said pur­pose,” ac­cording to the foundation by­laws.

At its founding, the district dir­ect­ors comprised the foundation’s governing Board, along with other interested members of the com­mu­nity.

However, in 2015, the Board chose to remove that direct con­nec­tion to the foundation, citing con­cerns that meeting as the foun­dation board could violate the state’s open meeting law, the Ralph M. Brown Act, which precludes a majority of an elected Board from meeting without calling a formal, agendized meeting of the body.

On Wednesday, Wood pro­posed bringing back a dir­ect connection to the foun­dation, although he did not specify the exact means to do so.

“I would like to bring it back home and bring it back under the umbrella of the RCSD,” he said.

Wood cited the recent deaths of two Rosamond parks proponents, Daniel Lands­gaard and Russ Wil­li­ford, as a catalyst for his decision.

“I know the district gave up the parks and rec­re­a­tion mantle, but we still have the parks and rec­re­a­tion committee,” he said. “I’m not ready to close the door on parks for our community. I know there’s things we have to do dif­fer­ently, but by bring­ing the foundation back we will at least have the opportunity to bring money in and get the money here first before we actually spend it.”

Without a source of rev­enue for the parks, and following the defeat of a tax measure to fund parks by more than 77% of the vote in a March 2018 election, the Board chose to turn over the last remaining park in its control to Kern Coun­ty and divest the re­spon­sibility last summer.

Resident Never Lewis ques­tioned whether the move to bring the foun­da­tion under the district would negate the vote of the community.

“The community, when we had that vote, 77% of the people in Rosamond voted no,” she said. “We’re just asking that you take into consideration what the community wants.”

Wood said the foundation would not use any taxpayer or district funds, but would be a means to collect do­na­tions as a nonprofit or­gan­iz­a­tion.

“What I’m trying to do is bring the 501(c)3 back to RCSD so we have a way forward to make life better in the community,” he said.

Director Rick Webb, who serves on the parks com­mit­tee with Wood, suggested look­ing at the foundation by­laws to see if it may be used for recreational proj­ects or other means to help the community, since the dis­trict does not have con­trol over any parks any­more.

“There may be other ways the foundation can help grow and thrive,” he said, and used as an ex­am­ple the lack of a place for the youth football team to practice.

The district’s legal coun­sel will look into the bylaws and de­ter­mine if bringing the foun­da­tion back under the dis­trict control would be feas­ible.

In the past, the Rosa­mond Foundation col­lect­ed donations and raised money to purchase and install playground equip­ment for Jim Williford Park, purchased the com­po­nents of a skate park that once stood on land owned by Southern Kern Unif­ied School District (which the district took back for other needs) and im­prove­ments to the com­mu­nity pool.

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