Friends Of Daley Ranch Executive Board Minutes

January 19, 2012

Present: From the Board, Fred Woods, Mike Whalen, Rick Paul, Dick Althouse, Jerry Harmon, and Rick Mercurio; from the City, Tony Smock and Christopher McKinney.

Fred opened the meeting at 7 p.m. at the train depot in Grape Day Park, Escondido. We welcomed Tony and Chris, who is the new utilities director for the City. Rick P. moved to approve the minutes from the previous meeting. Dick seconded and the motion passed unanimously. Rick P delivered a treasurer’s report: $632.65 was accepted from the iron ranger and other donations and memberships. Our bank account has $8910 and our Ivy account is at $17,407. Mike said that the plant guide box unintentionally communicates to some visitors that the guides are free. Jerry moved to purchase a new lid for the guides, and also to purchase a small sign on the lid that makes it clear that FODR suggests a $2 donation. Mike seconded the motion, which passed unanimously. Fred will look into this purchase.

Tony reported that the ranch house restoration should be complete by late spring or early summer. He said that the cedar used in the project came from Palomar Mountain, where bark beetles had threatened the trees. He also said that the City had approved the construction of a separate visitors center, to be attached to the already-approved new bathrooms on the east side of the road. The center would be used as a permanent interpretive center with displays, allowing the ranch house to be rented out by the City for moneymaking events like weddings. The house would also be open for docent-led tours. The Board expressed surprise that we had never been informed about plans for an interpretive center structure. Rick P. noted that he had contacted Jerry Van Leeuwen of the City, who had assured us that the City would be soliciting public input about the best uses of the ranch house. Tony also said that the road from the parking area to the ranch house would be completely re-paved, using money from the mitigation funds. Requests for proposals are due February 1.

Jerry asked Tony about the removal of so much vegetation along ranch house road this past fall. Tony said the Escondido Fire Department had ordered the work in order to have a wider, defensible space in the event of an emergency. Tony noted that the new road project would include a few large turnout areas to allow vehicles to safely pass each other.

Rick P. said that the Daley Ranch master plan calls for equestrian uses to be concentrated at the Caballo trailhead, which the plan identifies as the Charros area. He also said that the master plan encourages the use of shuttles to access the ranch house.

Tony reported that Bear Valley Middle School has scheduled a ranch visit. He also said that Kathy Boyd, a full time Daley Ranch ranger, has been given a national astronomy “award” which allows her to use borrowed telescopes and to conduct astronomy training. She has already participated in events at the ranch, including setting up a scope to view the lunar eclipse and solar flares.

Christopher discussed the proposed City Water Dept. structure near Caballo trailhead. He said that the City is conducting a feasibility study, which should be done by the end of January. He said the City would seek public input on this proposal before the staff makes a recommendation to the Council. The Council is scheduled to hear input at its March 7 meeting, where concerned neighbors, the Humane Society, and FODR would be welcome to offer comments.

FODR’s utility building restoration project was discussed. Planning director Barbara Redlitz has notified the Board that the City does not presently have the staff time or resources to pursue the needed permits for shoring up the creek bank just west of the buildings. The Board expressed a desire to continue to work with the City to see if we can offer assistance to make this happen, and Jerry said he would contact Barbara to set up an exploratory meeting. Meanwhile, FODR, under Dick’s leadership, will continue to work on the structures not directly affected by the creek. The entire Board agreed that we must leave the buildings in their original location to protect their historical significance.

Mike and Rick M. have been working on initial design ideas for the panorama displays atop Stanley Peak. Mike brought in a very professional, durable sample from the Sikes Adobe. Rick M. has been in contact with an Escondido sign maker, and Rick will be trying to secure the services of a photographer who might donate their expertise. The Board agreed to discuss this further at the Feb. 4 FODR retreat.

Fred thanked Wendy and others who contributed to the newsletter. Jerry and his volunteers will work on the mailings this coming Wednesday. Rick M. will email the newsletter when it is mailed out.

The next meetings will be Feb. 4 starting at 9 a.m. at the home of Rick M., who will provide lunch; Feb. 16 at the train depot at 7 p.m.; and March 15 at the home of Fred.

Respectfully submitted,

Rick Mercurio, secretary