Valley Center, CA
November 29, 2022
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Mostly cloudy

Group doesn’t change intergenerational center recommendation

The Valley Center Community planning group at their September 19 meeting declined to take another vote on a recommendation made last December that the County’s intergenerational center in Valley Center be at Star Valley Park— instead of Butterfield Trails Ranch.
The group heard a presentation by Wayne Hilbig, owner of the Butterfield Trails Ranch property and his son Nathan. They asked the group to change its recommendation.
Hilbig gave the presentation. He had a large format map and provided some history. He has owned it for 42 years and over the last several years proposed a development of about 72 luxury homes.
The Butterfield property is nearly 60 acres—with a pond—next to the Native Oaks Golf Course. It is easily accessible from Valley Center Road—which is one of its selling points to many supporters.
Star Valley Park is the 42-acre regional park that was the final acquisition of the former VC Parks & Rec District before it handed over all the community parks to the County last year.
When Friends of Hellhole Canyon last year learned the property was for sale, they thought that it would make an excellent centrally located park for Valley Center that would preserve the natural and historic features that represent Valley Center’s character for future generations.
According to Friends’ President Joaquin Aganza, “Large oaks, a pond and rolling meadows below an impressive granite escarpment along Moosa Creek provide an idyllic spot for picnics and easy hiking or horseback riding. Morteros in the flat boulders near the pond indicate that this area was used for centuries by Native Americans for food gathering and preparation. Being that Moosa Creek is a natural wildlife corridor for movement between the Hellhole Canyon area and Daley Ranch and beyond along Old Castle to the San Luis Rey River in Bonsall this property has important conservation value.”
In April, Fifth District Supervisor Jim Desmond told the Revitalization group that the spending priority might come down to buying Butterfield Trails Ranch property or spending that money to upgrade Star Valley Park with the Intergenerational Center. He said it was unlikely that both could be done simultaneously.
Last year the Board of Supervisors approved a pilot program to study putting intergenerational centers in unincorporated communities, beginning in Valley Center.
At the April 6, 2022 Board of Supervisors directed “[T[he Chief Administrative Officer to explore the feasibility of the County acquiring the Butterfield Trails Ranch property for the purpose of establishing a public park. In general, this exploration should focus on identifying key stakeholders and potential partnerships to assist in the acquisition process, estimating overall costs and timeline, and identifying all potential funding sources.”
Bill Trok, who serves on the volunteer Valley Center Parks Advisory Committee, said the committee wants to keep the intergenerational center at Star Valley Park. However, the committee has not yet taken a formal vote on that recommendation.
Star Valley Park is currently slated as the site for the intergenerational center, along with an equestrian center and sports fields. This plan was developed over the last four years.
Trok complained of a lack of communication between the two advisory boards on the intergenerational center. Trok and others who have worked on the plans for Star Valley Park are concerned that changing them now would delay development for that park site.
During the Hilbigs’ presentation they noted that a little over a year ago, several community members [i.e. the Friends of Hellhole] approached them to see if they would consider Butterfield as a park. “While the property is approved for housing,” they said. “We love the idea of preserving Butterfield’s unique natural beauty for the benefit of the whole community. Since then we hosted a community open house and met with several community leaders. The response has been overwhelmingly positive for the county to purchase Butterfield as a much-needed park site.”
According to Nathan Hilbig, “After a tour of Butterfield Trails, Supervisor Jim Desmond asked if we’d consider Butterfield as a possible location for a multigenerational center. We enthusiastically supported his idea.”
After the planning group meeting, the Hilbigs said in a statement to The Roadrunner: “We support the hundreds of residents that have voiced their support for Butterfield Trails Ranch as a park. If the County is considering a significant investment in our community with a multigenerational center, shouldn’t it be in the best possible location? A location that has the highest chance for adoption by the community and will require far less vehicle trips and congestion than the currently proposed site. Butterfield Trails Ranch Park will be a one-of-a-kind gem Valley Center will be proud to have preserved for generations.”
The Hilbigs added, “Of course we want what is best for Valley Center. We love this community and the unique lifestyle it provides. We support Star Valley as a much-needed park and applaud the efforts of many who brought that to fruition. We also believe Butterfield provides additional features that would make it ideal as an additional park, and the location of the multigenerational center to serve the community of Valley Center. Butterfield Trails is ideal in terms of its location, public transit access, proximity to residential hubs and emergency services and unparalleled natural beauty.”
The Friends and other supporters of Butterfield Trails Ranch for the Center note that it is adjacent to Woods Valley and Park Circle. So families from those developments could walk or bike to take advantage of programs offered by the facility. The Park Circle development is approved for about 700 homes. Star Valley is 2.5 miles and not an easy walk or bike ride from what is becoming the most concentrated population area in Valley Center.
The intergenerational center was first proposed by planning group member Lavonne Norwood, who has been the point woman for efforts to bring a senior center to Valley Center. She was excited when Desmond authored the pilot program to study building an intergenerational center in VC—as the first among many in the County.
Jake Enriquez, the County Park and Recreation Department’s regional manager for North County, has met with stakeholders several times over the past year over what amenities the intergenerational center should include.
Some suggestions are that the Center should feature programming that pairs youths, adults and seniors to develop life skills. To teach managing personal finance and preschool programs that integrate seniors. Also, the center must have a strong Wi-Fi connection to make it a cyber hub.
The VCPG has voted unanimously to support acquisition of Butterfield as a park. It also supports the development of Star Valley Park. What needs to be worked out is the placement of the intergenerational center.
Supervisor Desmond has stated that if the community wanted the intergenerational center at Butterfield that would make acquisition of that site happen more quickly.

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