STOCKTON — The fight to save Stockton’s Swenson Golf Course has often taken a heated turn in community rooms, lawns and city council meetings.
Now, some community members are cautiously optimistic in light of a newly released proposal to save the 70-year-old facility.
“The community up here wants to keep this a golf course, they’re willing to support it, and let’s hope that that’s what happens,” said Blair Hake, president of Friends of Swenson.
If passed, Swenson would be privately managed by Kemper Sports Management for 15 years.
Right now, Mayor Michael Tubbs says the city subsidizes the operating cost.
“So, we’re going from a negative of on average about $700,000 to our general fund to a positive of $282,000,” the mayor explained.
Under the lease, Kemper would pay a dollar each year. After the first 10 years, some of the profits would go to the city.
“Call it a triple win. A win for the Swenson community, a win for the Van Buskirk community, also a win for the entire city of Stockton,” Tubbs told FOX40.
“If I can have some kind of assurance that that’s what’s going to happen and we’re going to see improvements out here, that’s great,” Hake said.
Swenson will remain but the Van Buskirk Golf Course will be no more. Under the proposal, Van Buskirk will be transformed into a recreational facility, gardens or walking trails.
“I’m disappointed,” Hake said. “I know there’s a lot of people who like Van Buskirk. I know people come from surrounding communities to use Van Buskirk.”
Hake said he is also concerned the contract might lead them to the rough.
“If it has a clause that says the city can cancel the contract and sell the property, that’s not great,” he said.
Mayor Tubbs believes the proposal will give the community what it wants and what the city needs.
“I’m not anti-golf, I’m not anti-Swenson, I’m not anti-Van Buskirk. I’m pro-Stockton,” he said.
The city will discuss the proposal at next Tuesday’s City Council meeting.