Wheatland Union High School Class of 1966
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Wheatland Union High School Class of 1966 - Latest News

02-14-2007 - Mr. Crabtree in the news !

Crabtree's decade quest
By Breeana Laughlin/Appeal-Democrat

Chris Kaufman/Appeal-Democrat
Roy Crabtree stands in front of the Wheatland Community Center, a future hub for residents of all ages. The City Council needs to approve about $200,000 in funds to finish plumbing, electric and ceiling work. The council on Tuesday night could not act on the request because of an absence and a potential conflict of interest.

The shell of Wheatland's long-awaited community center sits in Nichols Park on C street still in need of interior work.

The vision for the 7,400-square-foot, sand-colored structure is its transformation from an empty building into a bustling hub full of Wheatland residents.

The main objective is to create a place where people could come together, socialize and have fun, said longtime resident and former Councilman Roy Crabtree.

The center's finished exterior is the result of more than $200,000 in contributions spanning more than eight years. In fact, the center has been in the works for such a long time that existing work is in danger of deteriorating, City Manager Steve Wright told the council Tuesday.

Wheatland staff recommended council members authorize a $200,000 loan from a development impact fee fund to bring the long-awaited facility to completion. But the council couldn't make an official decision because one member was absent and another abstained from voting due to a business relationship with the contractor.

Other council members weren't thrilled with the idea of a loan, but seemed to agree action was needed.

If we don't spend these dollars, we are going to end up losing a greater amount in the deterioration of the building, said Mayor Enita Elphick.

It's not a good deal. It's the best deal. This has to be done with. It's too big of an investment to let it sit there, Council member James Barrington said.

If the council decides to approve the funds at its Feb. 27 meeting, it should please Crabtree.

The grand opening of a Wheatland community center has been on his radar since he joined the council about 10 years ago.

Crabtree sees the center as a tool to make Wheatland a more cohesive place to live - an increasingly important task to accomplish as the city grows, Crabtree said.

The center will bring people together in conversation. They can pass ideas on to each other. And it just makes for a pleasant community, he said.

The finished center will serve as a venue for community events, such as birthday parties, anniversaries, weddings and so on. The building will have a kitchen, conference room, bathroom facilities and a main hall complete with a portable stage.

Rental costs will be used to maintain the building. Renting the center will also require a cleaning deposit, which would be returned upon inspection of the building.

During summer months, Crabtree envisions the center as a recreational hub for children, offering games like pool and ping-pong.

They can come in, have a place to go and participate, Crabtree said.

Council-approved loan funds would be used to finance the work needed to finish the interior of the building, including electrical and plumbing. Once workers come in to finish the building, Crabtree said the center shouldn't take more than a couple months to complete.

There's not really that much to do, it's just a matter of getting them in here and doing it, he said.
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Appeal-Democrat reporter Breeana Laughlin can be reached at 749-4724. You may e-mail her at blaughlin@appeal-democrat.com.

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