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Neighbors Speak Out Against Stockton’s Proposal to Close Golf Courses

STOCKTON -- Stockton neighbors are teed off over a proposal to save the city almost a million dollars a year.

The green was alive with the sounds of swings and hits. For Lorenzo Juarez Stockton’s Swenson Golf Park is his sanctuary.

“When you’re out there by yourself, it’s peace, no matter where you go," Juarez said. "It’s peace, it’s serenity.”

The golf course is like a second home for Juarez. He says he learned how to play golf there and many years ago, with his daughter on his shoulders, he taught his little girl how to "follow through."

“They close this golf course, it’s gonna be another huge hit for Stockton," he said.

Many golfers like Juarez have been afraid of a proposal to close Swenson and Van Buskirk golf courses to save the city $850,000 a year.

“It’s open space and this city needs open space," said Blair Hake, a North Stockton resident.

It is a discussion that has been taking place on the front lawns of those who live near the golf course, with signs that read, "Save Swenson. Stop Mayor Tubbs."

“Let’s make it a manageable subsidy that everybody can live with," Hake said. "Let’s forget this idea of paving it over and preserve this open space."

Hake is one of the organizers behind the new campaign, which the Stockton Mayor says he is not offended by.

“I think the level of civic engagement involved is healthy for a community democracy," said Mayor Michael Tubbs said. “I think there’s a variety of options. I’m happy and willing to entertain all of them.”

Tubbs pointed out that his idea to stop the subsidies for the golf courses is nothing new. The city has outlined the rising costs of the courses since 2010. Mayor Tubbs said he just wants to find a pragmatic solution.

“Despite the fact that the golf courses make revenue, they don’t make profit, because their expenditures outpace their revenue," the mayor said.

Hake believes a multi-use park would be a great option.

“We need more things for kids to do, not less,” Hake said.

The idea is to improve upon, not take away from Swenson Park. Many neighbors have suggested including a nature trail and additions for Frisbee golf.

Juarez says whatever is decided, just as long as he can continue to tee off that’s on par with him.

The Swenson Park community will hold a meeting on Jan. 7 to discuss the issue. It will take place inside the Swenson Cafe at 10 a.m.