Misguided Development

When did the electorate of the City of Santa Barbara vote to donate money and become benefactors of the Elings Park Foundation?

In order to save what at the time was described as a $12,000 yearly deficit at the Las Positas Tennis Facility, the City Council granted a 38-year lease to Elings Park for $1 dollar per year with no profit-sharing.

Unlike the Municipal Golf Course where vendors are in business with the City of S.B. and share profits with the city, Elings has chosen to split all proceeds from Las Positas Tennis Facility 50-50 with a for-profit tennis academy.

What has amounted to a multimillion-dollar tax-free gift by the City of S.B. to Elings Park has now become complicated by Elings’s desire to build a multimillion-dollar office complex on the site, which sits along our last rural roadway in the City of Santa Barbara.

At the last Architectural Board of Review meeting, Elings admitted that the cost to run its new facility would be about $120,000 per year. Elings’s lease with the City of S.B. allows it to give back the entire complex any time with a 30-day notice for the next 38 years. (Who picks up that bill?)

Tax-free contributions will be needed to fund the construction and will be free from S.B. city taxes by the same token. Elings can use its new $5-per-day parking fee on the weekends to help fund the construction, I suppose.

Maybe the officials at the city should have checked with the citizen-users of the facility (the original builders and funders of the improvements to be demolished by Elings) before they chose to support this massive, ill-conceived, unneeded construction project on public land.

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