Valley Children's Hospital purchases River Park Golf Center, expansion plans

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For 19 years golfers have come to River Park Golf Center to work on their game or to play the nine hole par three course. (KFSN)

For 19 years golfers have come to River Park Golf Center to work on their game or to play the nine-hole par three course.

Cheri and Randy Brewer are regulars. They do not want the course to close.

"It's close. It's always kept up nice. The people are great--awesome. We'll really miss it," said Cheri.

The popular driving range and course sit just below Valley Children's Hospital.

"It's hard for me to envision what they could do here down on the bottom when the hospital is top of the hill over here," said Randy.

A specific site plan has not yet been developed.

"We certainly have a lot of employees who love that driving range,"

But Valley's Children's CEO Todd Suntrapak says the parcel works in perfectly with the hospital's ultimate plan to triple in size on the Madera County campus.

"I can tell you we're very, very excited that we were able to complete that acquisition to add to our current 100-acre campus," said Suntr.

But some worry the sport may lose out on the next generation of young golfers. This place is used by the first tee program and a dozen local schools for practice and matches.

"It is going to leave a void. I kind of wish, I don't know what part they're going to use, but if they could leave the range here that would be fantastic," said Leonard Carrillo.

Suntrapak says it is possible the course could remain open after the first of the year if a plan is not formulated.

"Yeah at least we could come out here and practice," said Cheri.

But the hospital is actively working to expand throughout Central California and the course plays a big part in that plan.

"Our objective is to be within 30 minutes or 30 miles of every family from Bakersfield to Stockton," said Todd.

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