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Tee off on El Rio fate at Weds. meeting

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Tee off on El Rio fate at Weds. meeting

  • El Rio Golf Course
    Tucson City GolfEl Rio Golf Course

What to do with the first grass golf course in Arizona will be the topic of a public meeting Wednesday night.

A "Complete the Dreams" meeting, held by Tucson City Councilwoman Regina Romero and Tucson Parks and Recreation Director Fred Gray, will give residents a chance to comment on the future of El Rio Golf Course and neighboring Joaquin Murrieta Park.

Golfers, West Siders and others can tee up their thoughts at 5:30 p.m. in the El Rio Neighborhood Center Mulitpurpose Room, 1390 W. Speedway.

The two-hour meeting will be the first of a series giving the public an overview of recent actions related to Tucson's municipal golf program and improvement opportunities at Joaquin Murrieta Park, said Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Sierra Davenport.

Because of a $7.5 million debt in the five-course golf program, the City Council is looking at the possibility of privatizing the course, which was founded in 1929 and purchased by the city in 1968.

If a private operator is not found, the city may reduce the course to nine holes, and add the area taken by the other nine holes to the West Side park.

During the economic downturn, fewer golfers have played the five city-owned courses, resulting in the shortfalls.

El Rio was expected to lose about $500,000 last year, Gray and City Manager Richard Miranda told the Council last October.

In the late '60s, prior to the city's purchase of El Rio, the contrast between the exclusive course and the poor neighborhoods surrounding it created resentment among activists, who demanded better West Side parks in a series of protests.

El Rio/Joaquin Murrieta Park meeting

  • What: Public meeting on El Rio Golf Course and Joaquin Murrieta Park, held by Councilwoman Regina Romero and Tucson Parks and Recreation Director Fred Gray.
  • When: 5:30 p.m. Wednesday
  • Where: El Rio Neighborhood Center Multipurpose Room, 1390 W. Speedway

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