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Baja governor says Tijuana country club should become park

1920s grant expired in 1969

“Our golf course is open to the public; anyone who wants to play can." - Image by Luis Gutierrez
“Our golf course is open to the public; anyone who wants to play can."

Baja California’s governor wants to nationalize the country club (Club Campestre) in Tijuana

Two months ago the governor of Baja California, Jaime Bonilla Valdez, said Tijuana country club's 120 acres should be turned into a public park. And on April 14, the state of Baja California Norte published a Public Use Declaration to start the process in which the government can seize the land.

“Let's imagine those 50 hectares with amphitheaters, green areas, running tracks, and different kinds of fields for sports. Now there is just a bar where those that play in the 18-hole golf course drink afterwards," he said in his live-streamed conference on January 25.

The country club is next to the former racetrack, Hipodromo Caliente, which Hollywood stars used to frequent during Prohibition. A membership in the club can cost up to $80,000 USD.

After weeks of silence from the club, its president, Gaston Toledo, responded to the press that the association has benefitted the community through 30 charity golf tournaments. He added that the club facilities are not private, but that it’s just a political move to win votes in an election year.

“Our golf course is open to the public; any person that wants to play can do it. It's not necessary to be a member. But the private areas are something different (…) And the truth is that the club is apolitical; maybe some of our members have had been in politics, but that’s outside.”

The secretary of governance Amador Rodriguez, put in charge by Bonilla for the matter, pointed out that the action responds to the need for more green space. According to him, Tijuana has .8 meters of green space per person, when it should be at least 10 meters.

Rodriguez claimed that it’s not an expropriation but more a forced selling of the land. If the measure is feasible, the government will have to pay 1.2 million pesos (around $63 million USD). “Plus, the executive order made in the 1920s by the president Abelardo L. Rodriguez in which he gave this land already expired in 1969.”

The country club's lawyer, Alfonso Solis, says the government doesn’t even have the money to maintain the public parks in the city. “The secretary said we need lungs for the city, but in the nine districts we have 200 parks that cost 308.4 million pesos, and there’s no money to take care of them.”

Eduardo de la Peña Sanchez, representative of the Hipodromo neighborhood committee, showed up on the press conference held by the country club and said, “We all know how the governor Bonilla uses his power, and if they want to invade the facilities, we will stand outside and block the entrance.”

For Yolanda, a woman born and raised in Sepanal, a poor neighborhood close to the country club, turning it into a public park makes sense. “In the 70s I used to go to the El Politecnico middle school, and on my way to it I had to pass by the club, but we never got inside by ourselves. Just two times, but it was because our school took us. I wished we would have been able to get in, the only big park we had is Teniente Guerrero downtown but it is so far.”

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“Our golf course is open to the public; anyone who wants to play can." - Image by Luis Gutierrez
“Our golf course is open to the public; anyone who wants to play can."

Baja California’s governor wants to nationalize the country club (Club Campestre) in Tijuana

Two months ago the governor of Baja California, Jaime Bonilla Valdez, said Tijuana country club's 120 acres should be turned into a public park. And on April 14, the state of Baja California Norte published a Public Use Declaration to start the process in which the government can seize the land.

“Let's imagine those 50 hectares with amphitheaters, green areas, running tracks, and different kinds of fields for sports. Now there is just a bar where those that play in the 18-hole golf course drink afterwards," he said in his live-streamed conference on January 25.

The country club is next to the former racetrack, Hipodromo Caliente, which Hollywood stars used to frequent during Prohibition. A membership in the club can cost up to $80,000 USD.

After weeks of silence from the club, its president, Gaston Toledo, responded to the press that the association has benefitted the community through 30 charity golf tournaments. He added that the club facilities are not private, but that it’s just a political move to win votes in an election year.

“Our golf course is open to the public; any person that wants to play can do it. It's not necessary to be a member. But the private areas are something different (…) And the truth is that the club is apolitical; maybe some of our members have had been in politics, but that’s outside.”

The secretary of governance Amador Rodriguez, put in charge by Bonilla for the matter, pointed out that the action responds to the need for more green space. According to him, Tijuana has .8 meters of green space per person, when it should be at least 10 meters.

Rodriguez claimed that it’s not an expropriation but more a forced selling of the land. If the measure is feasible, the government will have to pay 1.2 million pesos (around $63 million USD). “Plus, the executive order made in the 1920s by the president Abelardo L. Rodriguez in which he gave this land already expired in 1969.”

The country club's lawyer, Alfonso Solis, says the government doesn’t even have the money to maintain the public parks in the city. “The secretary said we need lungs for the city, but in the nine districts we have 200 parks that cost 308.4 million pesos, and there’s no money to take care of them.”

Eduardo de la Peña Sanchez, representative of the Hipodromo neighborhood committee, showed up on the press conference held by the country club and said, “We all know how the governor Bonilla uses his power, and if they want to invade the facilities, we will stand outside and block the entrance.”

For Yolanda, a woman born and raised in Sepanal, a poor neighborhood close to the country club, turning it into a public park makes sense. “In the 70s I used to go to the El Politecnico middle school, and on my way to it I had to pass by the club, but we never got inside by ourselves. Just two times, but it was because our school took us. I wished we would have been able to get in, the only big park we had is Teniente Guerrero downtown but it is so far.”

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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