City to buy vacant land next to La Colonia Park

City of Solana Beach

The city of Solana Beach has agreed to purchase a vacant parcel of land next to La Colonia Park in the Eden Gardens neighborhood for $2.8 million, for use in a future park expansion.

The Solana Beach City Council voted 5-0 to move forward with the purchase at its meeting on Wednesday, July 11.

"The city of Solana Beach is a built-out coastal community and availability of vacant land is scarce," said a staff report on the Wednesday, July 11 council agenda.

The property at 700 Stevens Avenue is adjacent to the park on its north side, and it "offers the city an opportunity to expand the existing open space, recreation and park use in the future," said the report.

City Manager Greg Wade told the council that the acquisition of the 30,000-square-foot (about two-thirds of an acre) parcel will increase the size of the park by about 19 percent. "It would be a sizeable addition to La Colonia Park," he said.

An appraisal conducted by the city confirmed that the property is worth the listing price of $2.8 million, said the report. Escrow is expected to close on Sept. 12, barring unforeseen circumstances.

The city will fund the purchase through a loan from its sanitation fund, which maintains reserves for operating and maintaining the city's sewer system. The money will be paid back to the sanitation fund with 2.78 percent interest over seven years, with annual payments from the general fund of $445,000, according to the staff report.

"I think this is a terrific acquisition for the community," said Councilman Peter Zahn. "It's going to continue to build that park to be a jewel for the whole city."

Wade said the city would likely begin talking with residents about how to use the additional space later this fall, after escrow closes on the property.