The process has been vetted, the money has been collected, and the applications have been turned in. On May 7 the Tourism and Recreation Commission made their recommendations on how to distribute the very first round of Mammoth’s Measure R funding. Measure R is the sales tax increase that Mammoth voters approved in June 2008. All of the monies collected go toward parks, trails and recreation in Mammoth Lakes. The recommendations that the Commission made will go to the May 20 Town Council meeting for final approval.
Five applications were turned in for the first round of funding, which distributed dollars that had begun to be collected in October 2008. The total pot of money collected was $168,100. The five applicants were the Town of Mammoth Lakes,which turned in two applications; the Mammoth Lakes Tennis Club; the High Sierra Striders, and Mammoth Lakes Trails and Public Access.
The Town applied for $3,100 for a newly designed, M-shaped bike rack to be installed in eight to ten places around town. The goal of the project is to see how well the racks work. The Town’s second application was for $25,200 as a bridge loan for the CEQA process for the Trail System Master Plan and the Parks and Rec Master Plan. The Town was awarded a grant from the Sierra Nevada Conservancy to pay for the CEQA process, but that grant was one of the many that was frozen last December while the State worked out their budget. The Town is still awaiting the release of their funds, but was told by SNC that if they found bridge funding, they could use the grant to pay back the loan once the grant funds are released.
The Mammoth Lakes Tennis Club applied for $6,000 to sand down the cracked, uneven tennis courts by the community center. The High Sierra Striders asked for money toward the track they are trying to build out at the Whitmore area. While not sure of a specific amount they wanted toward the $4 million project, Elaine Smith of the High Sierra Striders claimed it would take $109,000 to get through the design and planning process for the facility.
Mammoth Lakes Trails and Public Access went in asking for $80,000, but during CEO John Wentworth’s presentation, he explained that earlier that day he had spoken with CEO of Mammoth Mountain, Rusty Gregory, who told Wentworth that if he could get $100,000 from Measure R, Gregory would give a 50 percent match of $50,000.
When the final numbers were worked out by the Commission, the Town walked away with a recommendation for the full amount for both of their applications, as did the Tennis Club. MLTPA was recommended for the $100,000 and the High Sierra Striders were given a commitment that the Commission would fund 50 percent of the $109,000 for planning. The Commission recommended giving them $27,000 of the approximate $54,000 commitment in this first funding cycle. They requested that before they awarded the second $27,000 at a later time, the Striders come back to them with some kind of match for the money. The ideal scenario would be to pay the Striders the second half of the $54,000 when the $25,200 for the Town’s CEQA gets paid back by the SNC loan.