County still looking for money for new displays at Westwood visitor’s center
With a grant application almost ready to go, Lassen County’s Community Development Department determined the county would not be eligible to apply.
Assistant Community Development Director Joe Bertotti presented the application for a California Cultural and Historical Endowment Grant at the Board of Supervisors’ Feb. 20 meeting. He said the CCHE program required Lassen County to supply matching funds totaling half the grant amount.
District 5 Supervisor Jack Hanson asked Bertotti where the cash would come from.
“The cash match needs to be cash,” Bertotti said. “This is a grant we just learned about 10 days ago. We’re in the learning process.”
He added the staff hoped to get credit on the cash match from the county’s investment in the building and some other display work.
“We also have a couple of ideas to solicit donations. Under no circumstance would we make an application which would commit any general fund money,” Bertotti said. “However, there might be some discretionary economic development money that we could put forth in the application.”
The application also called for the county to make an in-kind contribution of staff time. Board Chairman Brian Dahle said the community development department already has more work than the staff can handle.
“We’re already maxed out,” Dahle said. “There’s not enough bodies in the department and we’re going to be saying we’re going to be allocating more of their time?”
Bertotti said the economic development/housing staff could work the program during the next 18 months.
“It wouldn’t be land use planners or building inspectors working on this project,” Bertotti said.
District 1 Supervisor Bob Pyle, who represents Westwood, made a motion to approve applying for the grant. Dahle asked for more clarification on the time county staff will spend on the program.
“Are we fully staffed in that department?” Dahle asked.
“No we’re not,” Bertotti replied, but he added he would do his best not to over allocate available staff.
Because of “the relative compact nature of this project,” Bertotti said. “I’m confident we can do it.”
Saying Lassen Land and Trails Trust and the Lassen County Chamber of Commerce now cooperate to run the Depot-Visitor’s Center at the Susanville end of the Bizz Johnson Trail, with it’s interpretive historic displays, District 2 Supervisor Jim Chapman said the county should support an equally elaborate set up at the Westwood end of the trial. He added the county administration might have to “cough up more cash” or do some of the work.
The board voted unanimously to approve applying for the grant. However, on further investigation, Bertotti and his staff discovered the county can’t meet the grant requirements and decided not to apply.
The county staff is looking for funds to continue the work begun in 2002 with grant money received from the U.S. Forest Service. A $24,000 grant from the agency covered the fee for a conceptual design consultant and one exhibit based on the prototype design.
The conceptual plan was created by Robert O. Dahl, a design and planning consultant from Tucson, Ariz.
The exhibit is a panel mounted on a handcrafted wooden cart resembling a railroad handcar. It was delivered to the Lassen County Visitor Center-Westwood Station in July 2005, with similar panels anticipated as grant money became available.
One Plus Two Inc. in Portland, Oregon, came up with the concept for the panel and exhibit cart. The company subcontracted the printing of the panel, which has information on Lassen County on one side and the history of Westwood on the other, and drew up blueprints for the construction of the cart.
The County hired Austin Meinert, owner of Austin Fine Furniture in Janesville, to construct the cart, which is on wheels so it can be easily moved for events held at the visitor center. Meinert selected old timber reclaimed from barns to construct the cart.
Bertotti said when money becomes available several additional handcart displays will be created, but the theme would only be expanded to a point because “it would be a little much” if there were nothing but panels on carts.
The handcar theme fits in with the history of the building. The visitor center is similar to the original Westwood train depot. NST Engineering in Susanville designed the building with the aid of two photos of the old train station, one taken in 1915 and the other in 1928.
A historian worked with the community development department to select the colors and types of finishing materials for the new building that would have been authentic for a railroad station built in the early 1900s. The visitor center was completed in November 2001.
Although it has taken awhile to find funding to design exhibits in keeping with the conceptual design, the center has not been empty.
Lassen County installed one of its exhibits from the California State Fair and Mountain Meadows Conservancy has an eight panel ecological exhibit on display. Visitors can also see an agricultural exhibit built with money contributed by the Lassen County Farm Bureau and Lassen County CattleWomen and Cattlemen’s associations. The work of Lassen County artists is also displayed at the center.
Grizzlies kick off the season with a winning streak, tournament championship
Daniel Perry, back left, Franky Shepherd, Bryant Wood, Kyle Barnetche, Wyatt Martin, Keith Rose, front left, Quinn Thompson, Justin Dupree, Tyler Winn, Dakoda Hahn, Thomas Raschein and Calder Bailey celebrate after winning the Durham Tournament championship Saturday, Dec. 7. The Lassen High School...Read More...
Lassen wrestlers face the Lady Grizzlies on the basketball court
The wrestling team, coached for the evening by Jason Bernard, had some secret weapons in its playbook when it scrimmaged the Lady Grizzlies basketball team in the Lassen High School gym Monday, Dec. 16. Here, Skyler Ingwerson jumps off of a teammate’s back to make a slam dunk. Photo by Maddie Musante Tuesday,...Read More...
Lassen High wrestlers and girl's basketball players to scrimmage
Dec. 13 — The Lassen High School wrestling team and girl’s basketball team will be going head-to-head on the basketball court Monday, Dec. 16. In a night intended to bring fun and entertainment to both basketball and wrestling fans, the JV wrestling team and JV girl’s basketball team will kick...Read More...