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Friday, Aug 12, 2022
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Mission College Plans Rankle Homeowners

Mission College’s plan to expand its campus in order to accommodate close to 15,000 students hinges on a land swap with Los Angeles County that has been angering nearby homeowners. The college, which sits on 20 acres of land in Sylmar, plans to expand onto nine acres of El Cariso Park which is owned by the county. In return, the Los Angeles Community College District would give the county eight acres of land for park improvements, and re-build baseball diamonds that sit on the land the college plans to use for its expansion. Mission College is allotted $176 million for expansion projects from the $2.2 billion raised by Proposition A/AA bonds that voters approved in 2001 and 2003. The enhancements to El Cariso Park and the reconstruction of baseball fields will cost more than $15 million. Ellie Brooks, president of the nearby Santiago Estates Homeowners Association, said residents worry that moving the baseball fields closer to homes will invite more crime in nearby residential areas. “We have a big security issue. Right now the neighborhood is somewhat known to exist, we have our share of break-ins and crimes,” said Brooks. “Once you have league play coming to that area. . .then all (criminals) have to do is just cross the wash when it’s dry.” Brooks said the county is unable to send police officers through the park more than twice a day. Mission College is in a difficult position its buildings must be no more than two stories tall so much of its expansion will require new land. Brooks said those justifications do not ease homeowners’ concerns, however. “Don’t tell me it’s going to be a dense campus (without buying new land),” Brooks said. “People buy homes on postage stamp-sized lots these days.” Larry Eisenberg, director of facilities planning and development for the district, said that he thinks most residents are unaware that the college must expand outward, and said he’s confident the district can address residents’ concerns about the project. “The position of the Board of Trustees has been consistent in that we don’t want people to oppose our plans,” said Eisenberg. “We want to come to an agreement on what the outcome is going to be.”

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