More Bonsall golf land to become river park

San Diego County appears poised to buy another large chunk of what was once the San Luis Rey Downs Golf Club, securing a new link in a years-long plan to create 9-mile linear park along the San Luis Rey River.

The historic golf club closed in 2014 following years of dismal revenues and the property has been sitting vacant since then, its once-manicured greens reverting to dirt and weeds amid a backdrop of majestic trees. 

On Wednesday, the Board of Supervisors will be asked to begin the process of acquiring a 118-acre parcel — just off state Route 76 in Bonsall — that once held the golf course’s five western-most holes. The board is expected to set a hearing date for Dec. 14, at which time the $5.85 million purchase from San Luis Rey Downs Enterprises LLC would be officially authorized.

Company representatives could not be reached for comment Tuesday. They had initially planned to turn the 118 acres, plus more of the golf course to the east, into a wetlands mitigation bank, returning the property to its natural state and allowing developers to purchase credits that would offset the environmental damage done by building projects elsewhere in the region.

Nearby residents were vehemently opposed to that plan, in part because the land would be surrounded by a chain-link fence and inaccessible to the public. If the county purchase goes through, only 61 acres would remain for a land bank.

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