HistoryFolks who purchased lots early in the development of the Diamond A were promised a recreation area as an enticement for making the purchase of their land. Later purchasers were not made such a promise. This created some tension among property owners, but it soon became obvious that the developers were not going to construct a recreation area. As a result, five members of the Diamond A (Walter Guy, Wes Monson, John Duns, Arthur Tibbits, and Wayne Schake) decided to create a recreation area and facility, which would be owned, and managed by the Diamond A property owners, who chose to become members.
The first step was to survey Diamond A owners to assess interest in the idea. They obtained twenty written statements from owners declaring support for developing a moderate cost recreation facility. Backed by these statements, the five pioneers organized to purchase eight acres, centrally located on Spring Drive and to form the Diamond A Recreation Association - incorporated on November 12, 1968. These five pioneers became the original Directors of the Recreation Association, The sale of the land was facilitated by Jack Fisher, the original developer, who persuaded the later developers to sell this land for the bargain price of $8,000.
In order to move this project forward, the Association had to recruit members and raise capital. So in January,1969, Walter Guy, the Board president, sent a letter to all Diamond A property owners. This letter presented a detailed plan for recruiting members and raising capital. It also encouraged Diamond A owners to become members of the new Recreation Association.
The development plan had two phases. The first phase was to recruit 12 dues paying members to afford the down payment on the land by February 1, 1969. The second phase was to recruit 18 additional dues paying members by May 1, 1969, to afford to build a swimming pool with sanitation facilities, dressing rooms, sun shelter, and BBQ, and to build a riding arena. The estimated cost of all these improvements was $12,000. The original proposed dues structure was $300 to join and $150 per year thereafter. They estimated that 30 members would be needed to raise the up front capital and to service the financing. To help with the finances, Jack Fisher, the developer of Unit 5, agreed to contribute $125 towards the cost of membership for each future lot sold in Unit 5.
In detail, the plan ran into some difficulties. For example, the purchase of the land was in jeopardy, because the developers needed the purchase price within days of the offer. One of our members, Neville Rich, provided the $8,000 to close the deal and save the property until the original plan could be implemented. Another member, Dick Hanna, loaned the fledging Association a large sum of money to enable construction of some of the early improvements.
Most of the early years of the Recreation Association were financially difficult. This was due to loan repayment costs and smaller membership. One solution to this problem was to charge new members a $500 joining fee. This was to be paid back when the member discontinued their membership. However, just like the Federal Government, the $500 would be spent to keep the club running. And there were cases where the Association could not afford to refund the $500. This put a damper on membership, because people did not want to pay $500 that may never be returned. So the joining fee was reduced to $100, and became non-refundable. Over time, the membership grew, the debt was retired, and the Association became financially healthy. During this time, many members loaned or gave money to the Association to facilitate this move towards financial health. This has become a tradition, as new improvements have been made.
Another tradition is the donation of hardware to the Recreation Association. For example, our friend and neighbor, Mike Kennett, requested that his wife provide the Recreation Association with a state-of the-art television set and stereo surround system after his death. Other donations have included dishwashers and refrigerators.
Early in the history of the Recreation Center, many of the core facilities were built. These include the pool, bathrooms/showers, BBQ, clubhouse, lanai, tennis courts, softball field, horse arena, kid’s playground, walking/jogging path, and water company wells #1 and #2.
Another major addition was the firehouse, which is constructed on the Recreation Association land. It is leased to Sonoma Fire and manned by volunteer fire fighting neighbors.
The Diamond A Recreation Association has come a long way since its 1968 beginning. It is now well established and continues to provide an oasis in the middle of our neighborhood. It has not been an easy task, and only with hard work and dedication by many members over the years have we been able to preserve this treasure nestled comfortably amongst us.