The 51-year-old Carson, Calif. property has seen rounds drop to less than half of those at the county’s higher-performing courses, despite a recent $800,000 investment. Plans will now be pursued to use at least part of the 178-acre site for “a more accessible and diverse recreational facility … [that] could potentially include tennis, soccer and golf facilities, as well as facilities dedicated to after-school youth development.”
Officials of Los Angeles (Calif.) County moved November 21st to begin negotiations with a nonprofit investor to transform the troubled Victoria Golf Course in Carson, Calif. into a “state-of-the-art community recreational center,” the Torrance, Calif. Daily Breeze reported.
Although no one is quite sure yet what that new center will be, the Daily Breeze reported, it’s clear that the 51-year-old course, which is vastly under-performing compared to other county golf courses, will not survive the overhaul intact.
County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who represents the area, introduced a successful motion during the county Board’s regular meeting to begin negotiations with the nonprofit Doug Kimmelman Foundation to develop an entirely new plan for the 178-acre site, the Daily Breeze reported.
“[Victoria GC] is substantially under-performing and it is our obligation to pull it up to a standard where it performs better,” Ridley-Thomas said. “It is time for us to make it much better, and we will do that. I’m assuring you that you’ll have every reason to celebrate when it’s done.”
Regular users of the course alongside the 405 Freeway skipped their annual Thanksgiving turkey giveaway and luncheon to attend Tuesday’s meeting and plead for the golf course to remain, the Daily Breeze reported.
“It kinda made me cry a little bit when I read that [Ridley-Thomas] wants to get rid of the course,” said James Jackson, a member of the men’s golf club at Victoria GC. “It is the only championship course in the area. We need this golf course in the area. All we need is a little help maintaining it, keeping it up.”
The course was built in the 1960s atop the closed BKK Carson Landfill, the Daily Breeze reported, and suffers from methane gas emissions and land movement.
Its last operator, Huntington Beach, Calif.-based VICO LLC, “defaulted on lease payments and allowed the property to fall into disrepair by failing to perform routine maintenance, among other responsibilities,” a county staff report states.
Now, county Department of Parks and Recreation officials will negotiate agreements with property operator Plenitude Holdings LLC and the Kimmelman Foundation to remake the facility, the Daily Breeze reported.
The agreements, county officials wrote in a report to the Board, “should allow for the potential reconfiguration of the existing premises to allow for its conversion from a golf course to a more accessible and diverse recreational facility … [that] could potentially include tennis, soccer and golf facilities as well as facilities dedicated to after-school youth development.”
Despite Plenitude Holdings’ recent $800,000 investment in the site, rounds of play at the 18-hole course have dropped to less than half of those at high-performing county golf courses, according to the report.
But regular users of the course said it’s still an important part of the community.
“I’m here on behalf of the hundreds of juniors we teach at Victoria Golf Course,” Christopher Steele of the nonprofit group The First Tee said at the county meeting. “After years of working with them, the students report higher self-confidence. They’re actually excited to come to school when they know we’ll be there. Please allow us to continue doing our work.”
Vince Goshi said he travels from Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. most days to use the course.
“I’ve been playing golf at Victoria since 1972,” Goshi said. “I get up at 4:30 a.m. and get to the golf course at 5:15 a.m. every weekday. That tells you how I feel about golf. It’s a tremendous resource for retired people like me. We’re getting physical and mental benefits from playing the game.”
Ridley-Thomas assured attendees that golf would still be on the menu at the site, along with other attractions.
“The youngsters you say enjoy the benefits of the golf course and the like will have many, many more chances to enjoy those benefits,” he said. “You will not be forgotten or neglected. That is a commitment.”
Ken Farsing, Carson’s City Manager, said the golf course renovations are welcome news.
“This is the right time for the county to be exploring alternative recreational and community uses for the Victoria Golf Course, since the city is currently reviewing and updating our General Plan,” Farfsing said in an e-mail, the Daily Breeze reported. “This process includes input from residents, businesses and property owners.”
Last year, the Daily Breeze reported, a $60 million Porsche Experience Center opened directly across the 405 Freeway from Victoria Golf Course, at the former 3-par Dominguez Hills Golf Course in Carson.
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