The South Pasadena City Council will discuss the possible extension of the during tonight’s meeting.
According to tonight’s agenda packet, city staff, the Arroyo Seco Golf Course and Racquet Center Lease Subcommittee recommend the City Council approve the extension of the driving range to border the neighboring South Pasadena Nature Park. The subcommittee was formed in September 2006 to evaluate the golf course’s pending lease.
The subcommittee believes the extension will attract more golfers and revenue to the golf course and make the driving range more competitive with nearby golf courses, such as Brookside Golf Club and Alhambra Golf Course.
Mayor Mike Ten said earlier this week that the decision comes down to a matter of balancing what would best help the city.
"We need to look at opportunities to increase revenue," he said. "If an upgraded and more successful golf course can lead to that, I don't see any reason why we shouldn't explore that."
But several South Pasadena residents are opposed to the expansion of the golf course driving range and plan to speak out about it.
While the 35-yard driving range extension includes land bordering the current Nature Park, South Pasadena resident Barbara Eisenstein believes the proposed changes will impact the park dramatically.
“This piece of land has sat for many years growing new trees and being a habitat. It has native trees on it now that have grown,” said Eisenstein, a member of the Friends of the South Pasadena Nature Park. “If they extend the driving range, they will have to grade the land, flatten it and I believe they’d be putting turf down. They said they will protect trees, but changes are not healthy for trees.”
Residents are also concerned about excess water and pesticide runoff into the Arroyo Seco due to the expansion. The use of heavy machinery on the driving range can also lead to an increase in air pollution.
Eisenstein believes the city did not keep the public informed of what their plans were with golf course.
“We learned fairly recently that the city is considering and negotiating an extension of the driving range of the South Pasadena golf course,” Eisenstein said. “I’m very involved in the nature park, and I should have been aware of this. I think the city did not do a good job of informing the public. They seem to involve people who are connected with the golf course.”
But golf course manager Keith Shannon said the public has been informed of the matters involving the course.
“This is something that everybody has known about,” Shannon said. “Pretty much everybody in South Pasadena has known about the golf course. The City Council was taking public comments about this for 6 months before it was even up for bid.”
City staff has noted the public has been kept aware of the item through its inclusion 0n the legally publicized agenda, reports on the city’s website and notice in the and Pasadena Star – News.
Eisenstein believes the City Council should postpone the purposed expansion at tonight’s meeting.
“What I would like to see happen at the meeting is for this to be postponed for due process so that everyone can truly be made aware of this matter,” said Eisenstein. “It’s a nice piece of habitat and it would be a shame for the city to destroy this habitat. I’d like to see decision put off so it can be discussed more openly.”
The South Pasadena City Council is scheduled to discuss the driving range expansion at tonight's meeting, set to begin at 7:30 p.m.