The City Property located at 17th street and Orange, currently referred to as Rodgers Senior Center, was a gift in perpetuity from Standard Oil / Chevron to the people of Huntington Beach.
The gift was contingent upon the property begin used for recreation or as a park, and was recorded as such in a covenant restriction on the deed.
Old minutes from City Council meetings refer to the property as 17th Street Park.
City Attorney Gates found a loophole in state law, a law that did not exist at the time of the gift, that stipulated that failure to perform some arcane bureaucratic procedure, somehow nullified the covenant restrictions in the deed.
City Manager, Fred Wilson seized on the perceived opportunity to sell the property to developers for cash.
There were a few problems with that approach…
#1. Being that the parcel was promised to revert to parkland once the new mega million dollar senior center was built in Central Park.
#2. The City was now proposing to sell off the last opportunity for residents of the northern downtown area to have fields for their kids to play on.
Fields that are present in most other regions of the city, yet are absent from this area due to the insane value of the land near the beach.
#3. Just because you can do something, dosent necessarily mean you should…the land was a gift.
It would be the ethical equivalent of taking a showroom perfect ’57 Chevy that your grandfather gave you, on the condition that you always keep it in the family, and selling it to buy a couple of used 2010 Toyota Camrys and pocketing the extra cash..
After all, hey…gramps is dead.
He will never know.
And I needed an extra car. And some cash…
Lets just do the right thing & turn this lot back into a pure park.
Pointy heads on commissions can argue for days about the name of the park.
Thats only important to pointy heads.
Just develop it into a park again for the kids of the Northern downtown area so they can enjoy the same access to grassy fields that most other kids in the city have easy access to, and be done with it.
Anything else would just be a continuation of the previous sleaze fest.
Simply earmark the park in lieu fees assessed on the next project of size built in the city, and get the park built. Nothing fancy…Open fields of turf…easy.
Any Council candidate that continues to push for the sale of this land, needs to step back and understand that a deal is a deal. A contract is a contract.
Even if it happened a century ago.