Park Foundation Ceases Charitable Operations
Sonora, CA — The non-profit Park Foundation, which at one time had big plans for a community park at the site of the Wildcat Ranch, has decided to cease its charitable operations and is no longer seeking a site to build.
The foundation was incorporated in May of 2016 with the mission of developing a regional community park. The organization spent two years in negotiations with the Sonora High School Board of Trustees regarding the Wildcat Ranch property off Tuolumne Road. The two sides signed an agreement in December of 2018 for the high school to sell 112 of the 137 acres for $1-million. The plan was to build a park over a 5-10 year period. It would have maintained the existing cross country course and provided the school access to newly constructed tennis courts, as the previous courts at the school were removed during the construction of the aquatics center.
A lawsuit over the pending sale was filed by the Tuolumne County Farm Bureau, arguing there were Brown Act Violations by the board during the negotiations. The Farm Bureau wanted the property to remain for agricultural education purposes. The high school board of trustees later voted to reverse the sale while it was in escrow.
The Park Foundation escrow dollars were then refunded to donors.
Ron Jacobs, President of the Foundation, says the decision to now cease the operations of the foundation was made by a unanimous vote by the six directors. Dr. Jacobs argues, “The winding up of The Park Foundation is a very sad time for our community and to the many supporters who had the same vision as our Board of Directors. It was a win-win for everyone involved in our county and would have been an incredible facility for future generations, as well as an attraction to bring young families and businesses into our county.”
Jacobs says the formal paperwork has been completed for the dissolution of the foundation, and the remaining assets have been deposited in a fund with the Sonora Area Foundation for the benefit of the Twain Harte tennis and pickleball courts. He notes that the foundation board thought the remaining money should go to an already established facility that will benefit both youth and adults alike.