City may end plans to privatize athletic complex

The city of Costa Mesa may scrap its plans to bring in a private company to remodel and run the TeWinkle Park Athletic Complex, according to the agenda for Tuesday's City Council meeting.

The council in December appointed a task force to work with Big League Dreams to overhaul the park. The residents group hasn't met since April, when it approved a concept that has since made no progress.

The deed to the park on Arlington Drive, however, apparently requires additional approvals if the city wants to retain a private group to run it. The federal government gave the city the title to the park in 1949.

Part of Big League Dreams' proposal, which includes several baseball fields, is to sell alcohol during adult softball games.

Alcohol sales are a significant revenue generator for the company's parks, but its proximity to Davis Magnet School requires the Newport-Mesa Unified School District's approval.

The district has not yet lent its support.

The council on Tuesday will discuss whether to scrap any effort to remodel the park or order city staff to conduct traffic, parking and noise studies, and determine how to proceed.


Park outsourcing

In other park-related issues, the council will consider outsourcing almost all of its landscaping work to Merchants Landscape Services Inc.

The company works almost exclusively with public agencies. The city's staff estimates that retaining the company to manage 11 facilities, 50 medians and parkways, lakes, 29 parks and six sports fields could save about $1.3 million annually.

Costa Mesa's current park and landscape maintenance budget is $4.5 million.

The city would lay off 13 full-time and three part-time employees, leaving six full-timers to work with the company.

Costa Mesa is embroiled in a lawsuit with its employees over outsourcing, and any privatization of city services would have to wait until after the lawsuit is resolved, according to a court order.

Twitter: @JosephSerna

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