Palm Springs, CA– Several years ago Oswit Land Trust (OLT) shared with the community its vision of taking failing or closed golf courses and converting them to a beautiful nature preserve. Two of these golf courses, Bel Air Greens and Mesquite Golf, were actively for sale for development (sales flyer available). OLT began diligently working on how to acquire both of these properties and save them as open space. Building on golf courses is a trend that is happening all over the country.
In the last 10 years over 1500 golf courses have been sold for development. Developers’ interest in golf courses makes it very difficult and tricky for a land trust to buy a property as the grant process can take several years and developers can move much faster on a purchase. In addition, the land trust can only pay the appraised value when using grants to purchase land.
It became obvious that OLT did not have the time to go through the grant process to acquire the Mesquite Golf Course property and that a developer would beat them to the purchase. In an amazing act of generosity, The Prescott Foundation, one of Oswit Land Trust’s top supporters, decided to provide the funding to acquire the property. Brad Prescott, a long time resident of Palm Springs, is the Chairman and President of The Prescott Foundation.
Jane Garrison, Executive Director and Founder of Oswit Land Trust says “This donation exemplifies the impact that one person can have on a community. This property is going to become an iconic and historic nature preserve in the heart of our city. I don’t know how anyone — Oswit Land Trust, residents or tourists — could ever thank Brad for this donation. Our first step to show our appreciation is by naming this property ‘Prescott Preserve’. The name will honor and recognize the compassion, selflessness and generosity that was shown with this donation.”
Prescott Preserve, when completed, will be lush with native plants and trees and will be a spectacular place for both humans and wildlife. It hopes to include a large butterfly garden, a native tree garden (where you can plant a native tree or plant to honor someone), designated bird watching areas, floats for migratory birds, educational signage, walking paths and more!
Brad said “I have always wanted to save land. When I met Jane and was introduced to Oswit Land Trust, I finally found a way that I could make my interest in saving land become a reality. Jane took me on a bike ride to show me the golf course properties and I immediately saw her vision. It will be incredible to see a beautiful nature preserve instead of construction and more houses.”
He jokes “I do think that was the most expensive bike ride I have ever gone on!”
Oswit Land Trust will immediately begin applying for grants to plan and create the nature preserve. The land trust has a 1 to 5 year plan for the property to create the preserve. However, during the planning and creating phase, a designated loop trail using the golf cart paths will remain open for residents and leashed dogs. Oswit Land Trust will be holding meetings with the surrounding neighborhoods and the community to gather their ideas for the preserve.
Oswit Land Trust is appealing to the community to help them with this massive project by becoming a monthly supporter and a friend of the Prescott Preserve. Go to www.oswitlandtrust.org and create a monthly donation.