City Agrees to Lease District's Farmland

The City Council added its voice to a chorus pleading with the board of the Newport-Mesa Unified School District not to sell the farm, so to speak.

The council voted unanimously Monday to lease the 18 acres of farmland surrounding Costa Mesa High School in order to build an athletic complex.

The city has spent a year negotiating a lease on the property, which is owned by the school district, and agreed to pay $100,000 annually.

Additionally, the city agreed to spend from $1.7 million to $2.8 million to build a football field and track, soccer fields and basketball courts on the property.

School district officials recently said they might change their minds about leasing the land to the city. The Board of Education is considering selling the farm for residential development because it may be more lucrative.

But Mayor Joe Erickson said he wanted the city to make its position known both to members of the community and to school district officials.

"I want the school district to know that the city is still interested in entering into the joint-use agreement," said Erickson.

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