STOCKTON (CBS13) — Stockton city leaders are debating the future of two public golf courses that may include replacing at least one with new housing.

A special meeting was held on Monday just as a new report is released showing the city is in need of more housing.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency says home prices have gone up dramatically in Stockton. The mayor hopes the city will consider new plans to address the problem.

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According to the federal government, the Stockton metro area has experienced a huge increase in home prices—up about 92 percent—from five years ago when the city was fighting through bankruptcy.

“At the same time, people’s wages haven’t increased. In fact, for a lot of people, wages have been cut. They have to work more to get less. Part of the discussion will have to be in the next couple of years how do we built more housing for everyone,” said Tubbs.

One idea is turning the Swenson Golf Course in Stockton into a mixed-use development where the property can bring the city more jobs and revenue.

“Mix-use development, which means development that includes retail, housing, commerce which is, number one, a revenue generator, sustainable over the long term, it brings jobs and I think for the city and for the council it’s wise to consider and I think it’s a brilliant move,” he said.

The city owns Swenson. It also owns the Van Buskirk Golf Course. Both locations have cost the city a lot of money to run—from $450,000 two years ago to $850,000 now.

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“As mayor of a large city with pressing needs like homelessness or crime, or poverty, it’s just very hard for me to justify that expense,” he said.

Stockton resident, Paul Wright, enjoys a regular round of golf. He is on a fixed-income and prefers to play at both city-owned properties, instead of the other 14 golf courses in and around the community.

“The two golf courses in Stockton are the only affordable places that we can play golf in Stockton period,” he said.

Wright is concerned over mix-use development. He says it would only bring his neighborhood more unwelcome traffic.

But no matter what the city decides to do with the property, Wright hopes the city will include some golf.

“Exploring mix-used that would be complimentary with golf is, you know, is a good idea to explore and yet at the same time, in addition to again the population of people who want to play golf, in addition to retired people. I don’t think it’s an either, or; I think it’s an and,” he said.

The plan also includes turning Van Buskirk, the second golf course into soccer fields, nature trails with basketball and softball courts.

No final decision is expected as councilmembers are just reviewing the options.


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