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Residents of Mission Beach flooded council chambers on June 14 in support of Tom Lochtefeld (pictured at left), who leases Belmont Park.

"I'm here on behalf of businesses that are adjacent to Belmont Park," said local business owner Mary Saska. "Belmont Park, and The Plunge, is an icon. It's a place where you can bring your family."

More than one dozen supporters stood behind Saska, all asking that the City work with Lochtefeld and give credits towards rent so that improvements can be made and the park can reopen.

For years, Lochtefeld and the City have been at an impasse. Since assuming the lease in 2002, Lochtefeld has spent nearly $12.7 million in capital improvements to the park. And yet, despite those improvements, Lochtefeld says that the City's Real Estate Assets Department has rejected efforts to renegotiate the land lease and increased the rent on the land by more than 700 percent.

Without the rental credits, and with the increased rent, Lochtefeld is unable to make the improvements necessary and residents of Mission Beach fear that the park will once again be a stomping ground for transients and addicts.

"In my youth there was a lot of crime in the area around Belmont Park," said one longtime Mission Beach resident. "The whole area felt unsafe. I don't want to see it turn back to...that state of deterioration. Let this guy do his job."

Later, councilmember Kevin Faulconer briefly commented on the issue. "I know how important [Belmont Park] is to our community and how important it is to keep it open and move forward." Image

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Comments

SurfPuppy619 June 15, 2011 @ 1:07 p.m.

Tom Lochtefeld does NOT own Belmont Park-it is owned by the City.

Belot is also subject to the CA Coatsal Commission for any work done there.

The key word here is PARK, NOT shopping center. There should have never been a long term lease on this property to use it for large scale retail uses. Thank you Mike Gotch you loser dork.

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Dorian Hargrove June 15, 2011 @ 1:51 p.m.

You're right again, SurfPuppy. Lochtefeld does not own the land. Thanks for catching that!

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InOmbra June 15, 2011 @ 3:01 p.m.

When I first heard about the City's rent increase (quite a while ago), I went over to the Park to see how it looked. It looked great! The upkeep and maintenance were very good, with attractive, well-tended landscaping making it a pleasant ramble. There was a good crowd of families and some tourists. The kids were enjoying all the rides and the place seemed to be thriving. Over the past decade I have taken my elderly parents to the Plunge to swim; they really enjoyed it. It's a good place for people who can't physically enjoy the sand and surf to still enjoy the ocean setting and watch the sunset. We loved watching the kids do the artificial surf thing. Sad that the City wants to ruin a place that really serves a broad spectrum of residents.

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nostalgic June 15, 2011 @ 3:05 p.m.

Probably the city has a developer who thinks it is time to start building condos again. I can't think of a likelier place. Low income housing credits, no parking for residents, of course. Why would you want a roller coaster when you can build a three story building there?

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SurfPuppy619 June 15, 2011 @ 10:40 p.m.

Probably the city has a developer who thinks it is time to start building condos again. I can't think of a likelier place

Why would the city sell the best land it has for develepment??? For a one time cash infusion???

The city does not sell prime land, they lease it on long term leases, like the Mission Bay Aquateic Center, all the land the Bahia, Hyatt and Catamaran. All leased. The Inn at Torrey Pines is also leased land. In fact that white elephant shopping center next to the Hyatt Islandia, as you come into South Mission Beach is ALL city owned......

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nostalgic June 16, 2011 @ 7:52 a.m.

"residents of Mission Beach fear that the park will once again be a stomping ground for transients and addicts."

This doesn't indicate that Belmont Park is in the same category as the Bahia, Hyatt and Catamaran. Oh, yes, the Inn at Torey Pines also. Run-down properties make prime real-estate sale targets.

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SurfPuppy619 June 16, 2011 @ 2:38 p.m.

You obviously have never lived at Mission Beach, Belmont Park was NEVER EVER a "residents of Mission Beach fear that the park will once again be a stomping ground for transients and addicts." No more than it is today. The beach areas-ALL OFTHEM-attract transients, and that is a simple fact of life in SD.

And any resident that said that (I doubt it is true) is either a liar or ignorant of the area.

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