Stockton City Council will meet this week to take action on myriad items during its second regular meeting of the year, including a final master plan design for the old Van Buskirk Golf Course and possible new uses for The Stockton Record building in downtown.
The Van Buskirk Golf Course in south Stockton may soon finally be repurposed after being closed down more than three years ago.
Council will be presented with a master plan at its meeting Tuesday that reimagines the old municipal golf course as a multi-purpose recreation hub, including a BMX track, skate park, basketball courts, dog park and community garden, as well as an areas that could serve as potential flood control space and wetland restoration.
And the site may even still include some fairways as the master plan’s recreational menu for the future Van Buskirk lists space set aside for “golf training and academy,” according to agenda documents.
In 1957, the Van Buskirk property was deeded to the city of Stockton by Charles and Bertha Van Buskirk under the stipulation that it be used as a public park or for other public recreation less it return to the couple’s heirs.
The 214-acre parcel of land sits between Highway 4 and Interstate 5, encompassed by Houston Avenue to the north and levees of the San Joaquin River and the French Camp and Walker sloughs to the south. The old municipal golf course, which takes up 192 acres of the property, operated for about 60 years before being fully shut down in August 2019. The east end of the site currently boasts a community center and park.
After being denied state funds to renovate Van Buskirk, the city put out a request for proposals for a strategic reuse plan in January 2020, ultimately awarding the contract to the international design company Design Workshop.
Feedback from the state “identified the benefit and need for a strategic reuse and design plan with additional outreach and engagement for the Van Buskirk property to guide the City in planning, partnerships, and potential funding sources for this facility,” according to agenda documents.
A series of meetings with the community and other stakeholders were held over a more than 12-month period to gain input on how VanBuskirk should be repurposed, city officials say. The results of those discussions were incorporated into the final plan.
If Council accepts the Van Buskirk master plan, the design will be used for promotion, to apply for funding and “finalize the necessary environmental documents,” according to agenda documents. A final master plan is slated to be brought back before Council for approval in September.
Also on the agenda:
Council will consider an ordinance that will change the Stockton municipal code to allow for personal storage uses in downtown Stockton.
Investors are looking to repurpose part of the old Stockton Record building at 530 E. Market Street into a mini storage facility, according to agenda documents.
“The Applicant (identified as 530 East Market Investors) proposes to use a percentage of the building for a new personal storage facility which will bring about needed improvements to the building and is anticipated to generate interest in the leasing of the remaining vacant space for retail and office uses,” according to the proposed ordinance.
The city’s Planning Commission already unanimously approved the proposed city code amendments in October before being sent to Council for a vote Tuesday.
These proposals sound reasonable and smart. Using the Van Buskirk Golf Course as a multi-purpose recreation hub honors the wishes of the family that the land be used as a public park/recreation area. Any use of the Record building is a move forward.
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