Maxwell Parks and Rec to buy old Sable Lines

Maxwell Parks & Recreation District will soon begin working to turn the former Stage Lines Building on Oak Street into an office and recreation center for youth. The board approved the purchase of the building on June 15.

The Maxwell Parks and Recreation Board of Directors last Friday approved the purchase of the old Stable Lines building, located directly across from the now-closed Maxwell Inn.

The board acquired the building for $20,000, about half the building’s assessed value and well below the current market for the property, and hopes to turn it into an office and recreation center, officials said.

“It’s going to take baby steps,” said Board President Kyle Miller.

The board approved the purchase June 15 when they approved the district’s 2018-2019 operating budget of $53,050, which includes the cost of the building.

The purchase and anticipated operating expenses take all but about $23,000 the district will have in left in the budget, which begins July 1, officials said.

The board also plans to move forward with the Proposition 218 process that could put a tax assessment increase before the voters for the first time since the district was formed in the 1980s. Although district officials have grappled with the idea for several years, they said Friday that they have no other choice but to ask voters to raise the current $15 per year assessment if they want to continue or improve programs for Maxwell’s youth.

Treasurer Randy Wilkins said the district anticipates about $5,000 more in operating expenses this next year, but that figure includes expenses related to the Prop 218 process.
Maxwell Park and Recreation’s annual assessment revenue is $13,000, which runs recreational programs like soccer and basketball. The district also receives about $12,000 in revenue, mostly donations, to help operate the pool.

The board said without an increase, the pool would eventually close without a long-range revenue stream to sustain increases in expenses, largely labor and chemicals.
The board’s long-range goal is to keep both the pool open and have a community center for indoor activities.

“We have a vision,” said Director Chelsea Dirks.

David Schwartz, who is the civil engineer used by the City of Colusa, is in the process of doing the engineering report required by Prop 218, and will walk the board through the process to put the requested tax assessment increase before the voters.

Once the report is completed, the district will have a better understanding as to what amount the district will need to request, Wilkins said.

The board also plans to utilize Schwartz to possibly access Proposition 68 park funding, which was approved by California voters on June 5, for another long-range vision of having a park similar to Arbuckle’s on railroad property along Old Highway 99.

Dirks said that the worst-case scenario this year would be that voters do not approve an increase to their assessment, and the district must turn around and sell the building.
“That wouldn’t be hard to do,” she said. “There was another interested buyer.”