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East County Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018 1 year ago

University Park elects Recreation District board

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New board members feel their job is to unite the community.
by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

Leaders of University Park Country Club’s newly created recreation district envision a united community as they forge ahead with a plan for residents to purchase the community’s 266-acre golf course, clubhouse and amenities plus 100 additional acres of developer-owned property.

Registered voters in University Park on Sept. 17 elected the recreation district’s first board of supervisors — Beth Bertsch, Nancy Kopinsky, Michael Smith, Steve Ludmerer and Bob Wood.

The board held its first meeting Sept. 26.

It is tasked with establishing the recreation district’s operating procedures, hiring a district manager and attorney, finalizing negotiations for the purchase of the country club and associated lands and ultimately for issuing bonds to fund the deal, if approved by residents through a referendum. If the referendum is successful, the district, created to purchase and operate recreational facilities within its boundaries, would run and operate the University Park Country Club.

“I’m looking forward to working through this and being part of this new possibility for the residents of University Park,” Kopinsky said. “I think it’s the best thing that could have happened to us. We own our future.”

Each of the elected board members had been recommended by the University Park Planning Group, which formed more than a year ago to develop a plan for purchasing the Country Club from its developers.

The elected officials were selected in an overwhelming fashion, each receiving about 1,300 votes compared with 367 votes for the closest contender.

The board members might have to navigate through some hurdles. Members of an opposition group have threatened legal action to prevent the recreation district from moving forward with the land acquisition.

However, board members said they hope to work toward reuniting the community with a common goal of preserving the quality of life in University Park. They hope to dispel misinformation they believe is being circulated and allay fears about the district and its role.

“I’m hoping everything can move ahead smoothly,” Bertsch said. “We can make lots of progress in a short amount of time, and we need to get this community back functioning as a unit.”

Wood agreed.

“A lot of work has to be done,” he said. “At the end of the day, the planning committee makes recommendations and the board decides. An important part of the process is to get feedback from the community. We need to hear from the residents about what their issues and concerns are as we implement this process.”

After the board sets up procedures, finalizes land negotiations and determines how it will allocate costs for the land purchase, it will hold a referendum of University Park homeowners to determine whether it can issue the bonds, and consequently assess properties.

The bond issue will allow the district to purchase University Park’s amenities.

Supervisors said they have no fears about keeping the golf course and amenities solvent because of the existing staff, quality of the facilities and the unique setting.

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