County buys Caltrans land for planned Spring Valley park

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Courtesy Photo.

Spring Valley might be going green!

Once the financial transactions are completed, the County of San Diego will acquire a 9.3-acre parcel in Spring Valley from the California Department of Transportation, with the possible development of a park on the table for its future use.

A 4-0 San Diego County Board of Supervisors vote April 10, with Greg Cox at a National Association of Counties meeting, approved the process to purchase the land while appropriating $6,454,000 to cover the cost of the acquisition.

The property is at the northeast corner of Jamacha Boulevard and Calavo Drive. Jamacha Boulevard is part of State Route 54 at that intersection and is thus maintained by the California Department of Transportation.

After Caltrans declared the adjacent parcel as surplus and declared plans to sell that property at auction, the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation expressed interest in that land for a possible park.

A 5-0 Board of Supervisors vote Jan. 30 directed the county’s Chief Administrative Officer to explore the feasibility of using the land as a park and to return to the board by March 27, directed the CAO to send Caltrans a letter expressing the county’s potential interest in the property, and found the exploration of a potential purchase categorically exempt from California Environmental Quality Act review.  On March 13 the county supervisors set the April 10 hearing date for the potential acquisition.

The feasibility analysis deemed that the land would be suitable for a county park.

The property is undeveloped, has fairly flat terrain, is of reasonable size for a park, is accessible from major roadways, is close to schools (four schools are within 1.5 miles of the site) and residences, is adjacent to a bus stop, has the potential to connect to existing trails, and has a low potential of environmental constraints which would preclude development.

The county will likely use the land for a sports park if it acquires the property, although an off-leash dog park may also be part of the park. 

The Department of Parks and Recreation will obtain community input prior to beginning the design of the park.

Caltrans had the value of the land appraised at $6,400,000, and county staff determined that appraised amount was reasonable. The land will be purchased for the $6,400,000 and the county will also spend approximately $25,000 of staff time for transaction activities, $12,000 for closing and title costs, and $17,000 for initial land stewardship expenses.

The estimated cost to develop the park is between $7 million and $9 million, and that figure may be revised to a more accurate assessment once the environmental review and design work are completed.  While the land is vacant the estimated annual maintenance cost is $6,000.

The agreement between the county and Caltrans also includes converting that part of Jamacha Boulevard from a state highway to a county highway which will be maintained by the county and can be modified to serve the park if warranted.

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