In 2008, the Visalia Community Rotary Foundation formed a committee called the “Rotary Pavilion Project Committee.” The purpose of this effort was to explore, with the City of Visalia, the possibility of developing an approximate 2000 seat amphitheater to be built adjacent to the proposed New City Hall building. Considerable time and effort was spent developing this potential project. When the country went through an economic slowdown, the city shelved the plans and the New City Hall was placed on “hold.” With the current improvement of the economy this plan is still a viable option.
The Foundation Board changed the name of the committee to the “Major Projects Committee” and, at the end of 2012, the Board asked the committee to evaluate three additional potential current projects for their consideration.
The first was the improvement of the existing Rotary Park. The Rotary Park was originally contributed to the City by the Rotary Club of Visalia and had fallen into some disrepair. This project is currently being studied.
The second opportunity was a Splash Park for the children of the community to be located on City property next to the Recreation Park Ballpark. This project would be a joint venture with the City of Visalia and would require the Rotary Foundation to contribute not more than $200,000 to a projected $400,000 venture. The Visalia Rawhide baseball team agreed to enter into a contract with the City to rent the Splash Park during each of the teams’ home games. In addition, the City expects to rent the park out to various companies and individuals for private parties. It was expected that all maintenance costs would be covered by the income to be generated so as not to add any additional costs to the current City budget. It was agreed that the Splash Park would be available to the children of the community during the summer months at no cost. The City will operate and maintain the Splash Park and will provide a sign naming the project “Rotary Splash Park.” The committee pursued the Splash Park project and when the bids came in, they were nearly double the original estimates. The Board felt this project, at this time, was not financially feasible.
The third opportunity was to develop, in conjunction with Kaweah Delta Hospital, “Rotary Respite House” (similar to a Ronald McDonald House) a type house to allow family members to stay while their loved ones are hospitalized. This project involved locating land and building a duplex type facility for this purpose. The hospital will operate and maintain the facility and schedule the occupants. The project will bear the name " Rotary Respite House - Al's Place." This project is underway and we expect to have occupancy by September 2016