Thu. Mar 23rd, 2023

Does Santa Ana need a major park space or a Golf Course?

By: Shane Barrows

The City of Santa Ana is in dire need of open park space. Our city does not have nearly enough park space for our residents to enjoy the outdoors. Not too many residents know about a quietly kept secret. The City of Santa Ana owns some of the land that the Riverview Golf Course is currently occupying! The golf course is a large piece land that stretches from 17th Street all the way to the 22 freeway along the riverbed. It is full of plush green grass, a man-made lake, and has pre-existing trails. It sits on a total of 114 acres, with 21 of those acres in the city of Orange. The remaining 93 acres are in Santa Ana, with 32 acres belonging to Santa Ana and 61 acres belonging to the Orange County Flood Control District.

So, the question is do Santa Ana residents need a large open space park, or a golf course? I think the answer is obvious. The city should buy out the lease agreement that it has with the golf course and use the space as a major park for our residents. Add some picnic tables and restrooms, and leave the rest alone. The existing trails can be used as biking and running trails.

As for traffic concerns, the only vehicle entry and exit points to the park should be off of 17th Street and another off of Memory Lane. This will keep vehicles out of the surrounding neighborhoods.

The current lease was signed in 1996 and expires in 2026. The golf course pays the city 8% of its total sales and fees collected as rent. For the last three weeks, I have tried to find out how much the golf course has paid in total rent for the last three years, but the information appears to be unavailable. It is not listed as a revenue source in the city budget, and I was told the rent is probably being paid to the city’s Community Services department by city staff, but apparently no one knows for sure. This is another reason why residents are pushing for more transparency at city hall. This information should be readily available, and in all actuality should be listed on the city budget. Not hidden away in a sub-budget that is not available to the public.

I believe we need the open space more than we need a golf course. Once I am elected to the City Council in November, I will make it one of my priorities to get an actual listing of all city owned property to determine who is currently occupying the property, and if the city is receiving a fair market for rent. A detailed review of our assets is necessary to get our revenues back on track.

Shane Ramon Barrows
Santa Ana City Council Candidate, Ward 3

By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

13 thoughts on “Should Santa Ana turn the Riverview Golf Course into a park?”
  1. I agree it should be made into a park for more of the public to enjoy. It used to contain bike trails but now it is restricted to Golf Carts for those who can afford to pay golf.

    To provide easier access to this facility, which will reduce traffic we should also complete the missing 1/4 mile link in the Santiago Creek. Memory Lane already has a new Class 2 Bike Trail but we need the missing 1/4 mile bike/hiking trail between Fisher Park and Floral Park which will complete a 10 mile bike trail connecting all of the Parks between Irvine Park and the Santa Ana River. Join 700+ community oriented folks and sign the online petition at

  2. I might agree also Mr. Barrows.
    This is an interesting an informative article that you wrote. Personally, I find public/private funded golf courses a far more worthy target of your scrutiny than the Bowers museum. (I despise elitist complacent golf culture! nothing against the sport itself though.) It saddens me to think that The Bowers might also have an elitist reputation also, because I know that is only half the story. Your other statements scrutinizing that museum failed to mention all of the educational programs that it offers to the public and to the low income households and those that are not being served all that well by the public school system now a days. Do places such as golf courses educate and inspire our Santa Ana youth like the Santa Ana’s highly regarded arts and culture institutions? I don’t see how they possibly could.

  3. Love your creativity Shane. That’s what you call thinking outside the box. Could we build soccer fields as well? I think there is enough space to fit a lot of activities there and if we move the entrance from Alona st to 17th and Memory I’m sure the neighbors around it would be thrilled. Another idea would be to build the Chivas Soccer stadium there since some feel we should preserve the Wilowick golf course. Maybe we can preserve Wilowick and instead build the stadium at Riverview. Since we didn’t get the Tiger Woods acadamy there maybe we can start a Soccer acadamy? I’d be interested in hearing the Pros and Cons from New Santa Ana readers because I can’t think of any Cons. You got my vote Shane. You are very original.

  4. For many of us in Santa Ana and the surrounding cities, Riverview provides access to a normally high cost sport. Riverview runs numerous academies, clinics and summer camps for kids which are highly successful and are utilized by Santa Ana residents. My own child has participated for four years running and has become quite a good golfer. We would not be able to afford golf for him under any other circumstances nor would many of the Santa Ana residents in the programs. The course also provides access to the sport for many adults who love golf but who also cannot afford high greens and cart fees. The course is normally quite crowded on the weekends. Half of the course shuts down when we have heavy rains and the area that is closed is actually dangerous due to fast waters. I don’t know how much they pay the city and that sounds like something worth investigating. I just wanted to provide another view on the issue. The space is used and enjoyed by many on a daily basis.

  5. Shane,

    Interesting idea.

    I think this kind of creativity is great.

    But, I would rather see a Partnership with a WPGA organization bringing in Lorena Ocha, to get young latina’s in golf skirts. Seriously, why can’t we have both?

    There are plenty places that can be “parked” out. There aren’t a lot of golf courses.

    I don’t think anybody is getting rich at Riverview, Mateo missed the mark on that one. It’s mostly working class guys and some FUNNY ASS retired guys from the hood.

    Believe it or not Latino’s like golf too. Just not many of them.

    Sell me the idea and I’ll pitch it to Art Lomeli, who’s fixing to be Benavides Chief Of Staff.

  6. Is this the park or golf course area were back in the early 90’s there was a major gang fight ?
    Is this by alona park ?

  7. Carpetbagger, I never suggested that anybody was getting rich over at the golf course. I have no idea what the money mechanics are like inside that club or for visitors there. I merely suggested that golf was popular with the elitist complacent class. Or the comfortable “leisure class” and those that aspire to be like them.
    “Oh Carlos, young Chap, Tell me again about that Hedge Fund tip you received today at your internship, I am not sure if I recognize the name of that Broker after all, I just spoke with my “Friend of Mitt” and he didn’t seem to recognize it.” “Oh Dirk, nevermind,I am going to take you to the Vietnamese Bikini Bar and get you to invest in Cambodian gals instead of Vietnamese Gals. We can lower the bottom line, reduce over head”.

  8. Thank you for the responses everyone. I had to do another public information request to try to find out how much rent the golf course is actually paying the city. The information is hard to come by for some reason.

    Apparently in 2010/2011, the city collected a total of $100,429 city wide for rental of city property. The rent of the golf course is supposed to be included in that total, but I want to verify the amount.

    Just for clarification, I have nothing against the Bowers Museum. My family and I enjoy going there. I do have a disagreement with the city “donating” $1.5 million dollars to the museum this year, and also in previous years, while we continue to struggle financially and our police department is almost 25% understaffed. I have also been told that the city owns the land and buildings at Bowers, so we should be collecting rent, not donating money.

    Shane Barrows
    City Council Ward 3 Candidate

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Verified by MonsterInsights