Responding to a column about the lack of trails hereabouts, developer Kevin Huber, head of The Grupe Co., which developed Brookside, writes:
“You may not recall, but in 1996, I offered the City of Stockton a deal on land on Elmwood Tract (west of Brookside) for a regional park and possible municipal golf course. The City had completed a study that indicated that, based on the population, and the General Plan Policy related to the number of acres of regional parklands they should have per capita, that the City was short of its goal by 1400+ acres!!
“At that time…in the decade preceding this, the least the city had paid for parkland was $60,000 per acre. Why did they pay this much? Because they only purchased land when it had been annexed to the City. When this happens, they do an appraisal, which is based on the highest and best use. My argument at the time was that by purchasing land that is immediately adjacent to the City, adjacent to the Delta, and adjacent to a habitat site, they would be able to obtain land that is not yet IN the city and pay a lower price, yet get basically the same benefits of a parcel that was in the City.
“I offered the Property at $7500 per acre. When this came before the Council, it was rejected because there was concern that the City wouldn’t be able to maintain it (Valid concern). If this is the case, then they probably need to revisit the GP acreage goals for parkland. Either way, as you pointed out in your article, there should be some kind of regional park in or near the Delta.
“By the way, had they bought it, and decided to sell it later, they would have reaped a nice profit, as the property later sold for a price several times higher than the $7500 per acre.”
Huber makes a good point about the savings of buying unincorporated parkland. But what pains the most is the regional park that could have been. When it comes to trails, San Joaquin County never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity.