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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