City looking to expand Duck Pond Park

Council is working on a deal that could net the city the 12.5 acre parcel to the south.

One of Temecula’s most iconic public spaces — Duck Pond Park at the corner of Rancho California and Ynez roads — may be supersized.

The City Council this week discussed in closed session buying the 12.5 acre parcel to the south of the park, a wedge of land that includes an unpaved portion that has been used as an unofficial parking lot for park events.

City Councilman Mike Naggar said Thursday he set up the closed session talks after hearing about the owner’s plan to build apartments on that property.

“It was a good discussion and I can’t tell you any more,” he said, citing the privacy afforded public agencies when they are discussing real estate transactions.

The purchase, which would need to be approved by the council in an open session, would allow the city to expand both parking and amenities at the park, which was created by former councilman Ron Roberts after he made a deal with the developer who built the nearby hotel, which is now an Embassy Suites by Hilton.

The deal turned the pond, a natural body of water that swelled and flooded the intersection after heavy rains, into a civic asset.

While the ducks — which the city doesn’t want you to feed — have long been the 5-acre park’s calling card, it also boasts Japanese and Dutch art pavilions to mark the city’s sister city relationships and the Letter’s Home Veteran’s Memorial.

The acreage to the south is owned by San Diego-based American Property Enterprises, a company that sold the formerly vacant property to the southwest of the park to a housing developer who built the triplexes that overlook Old Town.

The purchase, if eventually finalized, would be the latest in a long list of expenditures tied to the passage of Measure S, a sales tax hike that has given the city a robust new stream of revenue.

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