A hole at Sun Valley Golf Course. Photo via Sun Valley Golf Course website.

The city of La Mesa will be taking over the parkland known as Sun Valley Golf Course and turning it into a public park. The city of La Mesa first entered into a 15-year lease agreement with Sun Valley Golf, LLC in 1997, to operate a nine-hole executive golf course in MacArthur Park.  In 2012, a 5-year option extended the term to October.

In an effort to expand participation and increase revenue at Sun Valley, disc golf was added to the facility and most recently foot golf.  Yet, the facility had seen steadily declining revenue since 2011. In October 2016, the operators, Johnny and Mary Jane Gonzalez requested early termination of the lease and have been on a month-to-month agreement since March. They recently notified the city that they would be ending the agreement on June 30, with the last day of golf operations to be June 22.

City staff has begun working on the transition of the facility back to city management.  A La Mesa City Council subcommittee for MacArthur Park, led by Vice Mayor Guy McWhirter and Councilmember Kristine Alessio, discussed ideas for repurposing the 13 acre portion of MacArthur Community Park to include space for a greater percentage of the citizens to utilize. A 2012, city of La Mesa Parks Master Plan recommended the addition of amenities such as outdoor fitness equipment; off-leash dog area; updated pool or splash pad; running or walking trail; tennis courts; and horseshoes, shuffle board, or bocce courts to MacArthur Park, as well as a community garden.

The repurposing of the golf course site following the departure of Sun Valley will begin with the city closing the park on June 30 until an inspection and maintenance can be completed. City staff will remove and fill ball golf and foot golf holes, conduct tree and landscaping work, and perform maintenance on the irrigation system.

A landscape architect has been hired to prepare a draft design for the short term uses for the park that will include open space for public use, a jogging/running trail, new access points and additional possible amenities such as a re-designed 9-hole recreational disc golf course, a dog park and a community garden. In addition, the city plans to announce a request for proposals for a potential public/private partnership for what is currently the golf course clubhouse, putting green and driving range.

A community meeting to present the first phase design concept is scheduled for August. The park will be re-opened for passive use as soon as possible, with additional amenities being phased in as partnership agreements are put into place.

As far as the long term future for the entire 22 acre MacArthur Park, a request for proposals from planning firms to perform an Opportunities and Constraints Study has been released and can be found by accessing the bid portal at:

http://www.cityoflamesa.com/90/Purchasing  – Bid Opportunities  or

https://www.planetbids.com/portal/portal.cfm?CompanyID=15382#.

The study plans to look at the property and existing facilities to recommend ideas for its reuse, renovation and increased benefit to the community for park and recreation purposes. Public input will also be a part of the study.

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