UPDATE: Swenson Golf Course and Park is NOT Saved. THIS IS WHAT THE MAYOR AND CITY MANAGER WANT YOU TO BELIEVE.
Greetings Friends of Swenson. At our meeting last week, we discussed feedback from our friends and community with regards to our efforts thus far. It's been challenging to accomplish everything that needs to be done right now to Save Swenson. I personally have a deep desire to be completely transparent with what Friends of Swenson and Save Swenson have been doing, in case you didn't already know, the direction we feel we need to go and what needs to happen next. First, however, I want to personally Thank All OF YOU who have responded to this urgency by donating your hard earned money and showing up to work when we've asked.
Thank YOU! We have been short handed with regards to sending out official Thank You letters, but believe me...without you, we would be twiddling our thumbs right now and feeling defeated, deflated and angry. Instead, we are prepared to move forward and do what it takes to save this property for generations. As you know, this takes money, it's going to take time, consistency and hard work.
We also realize the obvious calculated timing of the announcement by Mayor Tubbs regarding the Request For Proposal for Swenson and that we need to be more diligent in providing education to our community. We knew the RFP was coming, as true to politics it was timed to thwart our message. Captain Obvious!!!!!
The City has already tried the RFP route and it failed...not a single proposal was submitted and after reviewing the document I can see why. Please read it and educate yourself: http://www.stocktonca.gov/…/PUR-18-012_FINAL%20Swenson%205.… I will also attach the document here.
As a business owner, I cannot imagine any smart company agreeing to the terms in the RFP.
We personally met with the Mayor and he had already been informed of the Recreational Park District and told us he would not support us by putting on the City Council Agenda, but instead told us to go through the lengthy and expensive petition process to get our Park District on the ballot...this is costing a lot of money, which is unnecessary. Total cost estimate: Approx. $80k-$100k. But with everyone's help, we will do it. WE have had an amazing outpouring of support, so far.
The concern NOW: Too many people have been saying Swenson is Saved! NO it is NOT.
Now having said that...Please understand...if we don't get this property into a Park District run by YOU, the neighbors here...the City can sell this property any time with a vote of 4 City Council members. There are money issues at work with the city, they're not talking about, yet, and they see Swenson as their way out.
DON"T BE FOOLED!!! When the RFP fails....which it probably will, because they designed it that way and for that purpose, to fail....we will be in this situation again.
In addition, developing this property with housing will be a Catastrophic Financial Burden to most property owners in the area, both County and City.
This is what we have been told: There will most likely be a huge drop in property values for starters; your property taxes will go up; you will most likely be assessed a Mello-Roos tax to upgrade infrastructure to the tune of $1,000-3,500 per year; Lincoln Unified will also have to assess a tax, because they are not equipped to handle more students and anticipate a short fall of around $100,000,000; Other parks in the district will continue to go downhill due to lack of upgrades and maintenance (Grupe Park and Stuart Gibbons, which would be included in the park district.); Water and Sewer services will go up in price due to the green space being gone! (Read the Stockton Tree Foundation Report.) Whether you live next to Swenson or in Colonial Heights, Lincoln Village or Lincoln Village West or Brookside, the Landings and as far away as South of March Lane....noone will be immune! Everyone will pay the price.
In comparison, creating the Recreational Park District, will add a modest assessment estimate of between $50-$150/year. The more houses in the district, the less it will be per household and all 3 parks will then have a chance to be restored to their full glory by the citizens who enjoy the benefits of the properties and our visitors.
WE, the Citizens of Stockton, MUST Take Control and Ownership of the Property. Perhaps the mayor can sell it to Friends of Swenson for $1. He seemed to be capable of doing that for his campaign contributor and developer friend under the guise of his non-profit! YES, this is true and is currently in litigation with Ralph White.
I'm going to be honest with you...I don't own property here any longer. I am involved because I LOVE my town and particularly all of these parks I have spent so many hours at enjoying with my family. And, I live here and have a son going to Lincoln High School. The rest of the Save Swenson/Friends of Swenson family do own property and are your neighbors!
SAVING This Park is UP To YOU. No one's going to do it for you. If you want to believe the Mayor and return to complacency, and/or you want to be angry with us because of our passion and sometimes our saying controversial things, or speaking up (loudly) when we probably shouldn't, or because we need help and are not completely polished, that's up to you too. Everyone has an opinion, we understand that and we care! Each of us has given hundreds of our hours and even our own money to save this property.
We have to put our petty differences aside, and if you quit because you don't like us and we lose, we will all lose!!! Of course, we could hire assistants and employees to make us more polished or organized, but, we're trying to carefully preserve the money we've raised for the big fight! Not for assistants!!! (We don't have the mayor's budget for that!! LOL.) We NEED volunteers to help stuff envelopes, walk neighborhoods and door knock, acquire sponsors for our concerts in the park and be a LOUD voice at City Hall!
You can roll up your sleeves and help us, you can donate money, you can overlook our shortcomings, you can educate yourself and say NO MORE to wasteful city spending and management or....when the property is gone.....your complacency will cost you. It's truly up to you.
Please, search your own conscience and do what's right for you. Thank you for reading this far. Thank YOU Again for your support!
Warmly, Suzie Bowers