Retiring the Shores debt - a council priority

By Crystal Crawford

Mayor, Del Mar

In May 2008, thanks to generous contributions from Del Mar residents and the Winston School, the city purchased the 5.3-acre property commonly referred to as the Shores Property for $8.5 million. The site currently houses the Winston School, the Del Mar Union School District offices and childcare facilities, and the community's baseball field.

However, total contributions were short of the purchase price, and the city secured a short-term loan of $3,673,000 with a balloon payment of $3,245,588 coming due

in November 2011.

Recognizing that this property is the largest acquisition ever attempted through fundraising in the City of Del Mar, the council has worked with the fundraisers to extend the time for raising the funds for the purchase. The initial deadline to raise the $8.5 million was February 2008, but interim financing and the short-term loan have provided additional time for fundraising. However, given the balloon payment, the City Council recognized at the outset that we must simultaneously explore other opportunities to pay off the debt.

During a public workshop in June 2009, staff provided several options for consideration. The council asked staff to develop a schedule for public workshops and community conversations to discuss the options and solicit input from the community at large. We will be discussing the schedule and strategies at the City Council meeting on Monday at 6 p.m., and we invite the community to attend and share your thoughts on the various options.

Our Community Plan envisions open spaces for our citizens and visitors to enjoy and the preservation of the rural feel and relief for generations of Del Marians to come. We are a strong and committed community, and we have worked together now for decades finding the means to make this vision a reality.

Two public workshops are being planned in September: one to explore financing options and another to explore using city assets to pay off the debt. There will also be opportunities for residents to participate in community conversations.

Leave a legacy in Del Mar by having your name associated with this beautiful property or share your ideas about how we can retire this debt together by contacting me at .

You can make donations directly to the city of Del Mar at the Finance Department or to the Friends of Del Mar Park's by visiting their Web site at

www.delmarshores.org

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