This thread is devoted to articles, letters to the editor, commentaries and editorials that appear in the press. They are not in chronological order. I'm starting off with the editorial that the Glendale News-Press published at the end of April.
EDITORIAL: Saving golf course is the right thing to do
In a time of increasing demand for recreation space, the Verdugo Hills Golf Course is a jewel.
Appeared April 28, 2007
It's not hard to understand why the Verdugo Hills Golf Course Committee, which formed with the purpose of saving the course, is interested in getting the cities of Los Angeles and Glendale, Los Angeles County and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy to buy and preserve it.
This is not a bad idea — and it could just work — but the committee needs to go a step further and start fundraising for this course that so many hold dear.
There's no guarantee that these agencies will pitch in. For one thing, because the course lies outside of the city's limits, Glendale would have to find that it benefits from the course.
In other words, an overwhelming number of residents would have to tell city leaders that it is a priority they want their tax dollars spent on.
Just as Crescenta Valley residents have come together to raise money to save the area's Fourth of July fireworks show in La Crescenta, the committee could also start raising money and tapping sources of funds.
Many community members have voiced strong opinions that the course should be saved instead of becoming a multi-unit housing complex. And that's a good place to start when talking about raising funds.
The course is a symbol of the area's history. It's been a gathering place for residents of the Crescenta Valley for generations.
Children grew up playing there. Local groups hold camps and fundraising events there.
And the history of the site is sprinkled with stories — for instance, it was once a depot for Japanese internees during World War II.
We realize sentimental value doesn't always add up when the bottom line is at stake. MWH Development Corp. made a substantial investment four years ago when it paid $7.6 million for the site.
Their plan for the 63-acre site — 269 condo units, 46 acres of preserved space and a nine-hole golf course — is an attempt to get a return on that purchase.
But does the Crescenta Valley need another condominium complex, one that would take the place of a revered community gathering spot?
We believe that it doesn't — not at the expense of a beloved, affordable golf course.
Efforts to turn the site into a residential complex should be heavily weighed against the value this course has for the community — particularly at a time when new condominium projects are sprouting up everywhere in a cooling real estate market.
In that sense, the committee's efforts to save the course by buying it couldn't be more timely and feasible.
Four years ago, when MWH Development Corp. purchased the site, the region was in the midst of climbing housing demand. But now, with the market cooling off, the course's community value has a chance to outshine its value as housing.
That makes the committee's idea of pooling together resources from the cities, county and the conservancy to buy the course a good one at a good time.
A public golf course, accessible to users from Tujunga, La Crescenta and Glendale, which is already revered as a community hub, is a resource.
It could remain as a lasting bastion of areas dedicated to being a public place to bring together residents of L.A., Glendale and La Crescenta.
Glendale could be a key player in saving the course with its own money and lobbying power, if enough people express an interest in preserving it.
We hope that interest is there — it could be pivotal in saving a jewel.