Pacifica willing to take over Sharp Park Golf Course 

Amid continuing concerns about the profitability of San Francisco’s golf courses, Pacifica officials have said that they are willing to take some of the burden off The City by helping to operate and maintain Sharp Park Golf Course.

Pacifica officials earlier this month sent a letter to the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department saying that the city would do whatever it could, including helping take over operations and maintenance of the San Francisco-owned facility, to ensure that it stays a golf course for years to come.

The 146-acre Sharp Park Golf Course, located in Pacifica, has been owned and operated by San Francisco for several decades. According to figures from the Recreation and Park Department, the course is on track to have a $117,000 deficit this fiscal year.

San Francisco’s public golf courses have been losing money for some years and proposals — including closing Sharp Park and Lincoln Park golf courses — are being considered, Recreation and Park Planning Director Dawn Kamalanathan said.

Additionally, leasing the golf courses to a nonprofit, and possibly a long-term lease of Sharp Park to Pacifica, have been considered. However, Mayor Gavin Newsom is loath to give up Sharp Park to another city, citing it as a fiscal asset.

"I don’t think you give up assets like that, personally," Newsom told The Examiner last week. "Give us a chance to prove we can turn this thing around … these are extraordinary assets and one day we’ll look back and regret it."

Recreation and Park Commissioner Jim Lazarus said that when talking about a course like Sharp Park that "needs improvement and loses money," The City has to look carefully at how they’re going to help it recover.

"If San Mateo County or the city of Pacifica are willing to contract with us in the management of the course, then I think we should take a look at that," Lazarus said.

Interim Pacifica City Manager Bill Norton said the city wouldn’t necessarily reap all the fiscal benefit if it takes over operations and maintenance. In fact, he said that Pacifica, which is experiencing a budget deficit, can’t afford to have any further fiscal hits with the acquisition of an entire golf course. The key might be to partner with a nonprofit or private company to manage golf course operations. While city officials think they have expertise in the environmental issues of maintaining the parcel, there is no one on staff with extensive knowledge of golf course operation.

"Not everyone in Pacifica plays golf," Norton said. "But everyone in Pacifica certainly pays taxes and we have to be mindful of how it impacts our budget."

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