City to study TeWinkle Park plan

The city of Costa Mesa will study a proposal for TeWinkle Park that keeps all four fields intact, adds two bullpens and increases parking.

The TeWinkle Park Athletic Complex Task Force voted 8 to 1 Thursday night to move forward with a plan that would privatize the park, bring in more sports leagues and potentially generate $300,000 in annual revenue for the city. Task force member Jeffrey Wilcox dissented.

"There is an awful lot of details to be worked out, but I think we're heading in the right direction," said member Lou Desandro.

City staff will study the plan — created by Big League Dreams Sports Parks, a Chino Hills-based developer known for building small-scale replicas of Major League Baseball stadiums — before coming back to the task force. The proposal requires approval from the Parks and Recreation Commission and City Council.

"The idea going in is it's a private operation," said Councilman Gary Monahan. "It's going to be profitable, and some of that profit will be coming back to the city."

On average, cities see $250,000 to $300,000 in annual revenue, according to Jeff Hopkins, the consultant from Big League Dreams. The proposal also converts all of TeWinkle's fields from grass to artificial turf, Hopkins said.

Parking would be moved to the front, off Arlington Drive, where the current 108 stalls would be expanded to nearly 300, he said.

The concessions area would also be expanded, he said. There are also plans for an administrative building.

Alcohol would only be for sale during adult games, said task force member Gordon Bowley.

The park would be open to the public from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., Hopkins said.

"Anyone can walk through it. Anyone can use it," he said.

Mesa del Mar residents, whose neighborhood borders the park, brought up concerns about amplified music, lights, an 11 p.m. closing time, parking, alcohol in the park and whether residents would lose the open space if the proposal comes to fruition.

"The city's got ordinances, rightly so, against alcohol in parks, but it's going to be allowed if the city is going to make a profit?" resident Chuck Drescher asked during the meeting's public comments portion. "I don't like that double standard."

Bowley told residents the project is still in the very early stages and the idea is to make it a win-win for everybody.

"It's absolutely not a done deal until you look at it," he said. "We're not going to slam anything through."

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