By Karen Brainard and Joe Naiman
California Department of Transportation has agreed to allow the county to acquire its property at Main and 12th Streets for the future Ramona Intergenerational Community Campus (RICC), providing the county finds suitable replacement sites.
At its Nov. 5 meeting, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, by a 5-0 vote, authorized the director of the county’s Department of General Services to execute a memorandum of understanding with Caltrans to conduct site searches for replacement properties and to execute option agreements. The replacement properties for Caltrans will be in Ramona and Julian.
“I’m very proud that an agreement has finally been reached,” said Supervisor Dianne Jacob.
“We are jazzed,” an enthusiastic Arvie Degenfelder told the Ramona Community Planning Group at its Nov. 7 meeting. ”We envision that (property) to be the new Ramona adult center.”
Degenfelder is co-chair of the RICC committee.
Standing in the community room of the Ramona Library, Degenfelder told the planning group and those attending that they were in RICC’s flagship building.
Also planned for the campus are a community center, senior center, skateboard park and other community-oriented facilities.
“It’s a fabulous vision,” Jacob said at the supervisors’ meeting on Nov. 5. “The facilities built over time should become a staple for citizens of all ages.”
Caltrans’ two parcels at Main and 12th streets total 1.38 acres. The site search will focus on finding a 3/4-acre site in Ramona and a half-acre site in Julian. The terms of the agreement call for the county to install improvements such as fencing and paving on the replacement sites and to pay any difference between the cost of the improved replacement parcels and the appraised value of Caltrans’ two parcels.
Caltrans’ need for a replacement road station site in Ramona and a new road station site in Julian, allows Caltrans road crews to continue to provide maintenance and repair services on state roads in the northeastern part of San Diego County. Because of state regulations on disbursement of proceeds from the sale of Caltrans real property, an exchange transaction rather than a direct sale was deemed desirable by Caltrans and the county.
Once replacement properties are found, county staff will prepare the environmental review and return to the board to identify funding for acquisition and improvements.
The county bought the 6.78-parcel on Main Street between 12th and 13th streets for $2.575 million in 2003 and an adjacent .52-acre parcel in 2008 for $400,000 for the RICC. In addition to the Caltrans property, there are approximately 7.68 acres of private property identified in the RICC Visionary Plan that are yet to be acquired.
According to the county, plans for the community campus and potential connectivity to the proposed Santa Maria Creek Greenway Park has been in the works since October 1999.