It's official: the city of Hesperia now owns the 18-hole Hesperia Golf Course and the rights to the water that flows below it.


"As of today we own the golf course," City Manager Mike Podegracz said during Friday's mixer hosted by the Hesperia Recreation and Park District.


District official have agreed to a one-year contract to operate and maintain the course and its clubhouse. Technically, the city's redevelopment agency bought the land, and the city purchased the water rights. Escrow closed just in time for Friday's celebration, Podegracz said.


"I'm so excited about this," said Rebekah Swanson, president of the park district's board of directors. "This just shows how much you can do when you work together."


The golf course is just one of several joint projects in recent years. The city owns Hesperia Lake Park but has leased the sprawling property to the district for $1 a year. The two agencies have a similar agreement for Maple Park, which is currently under construction.


Mayor Thurston "Smitty" Smith said the joint project was first considered in 2004 when he served on the park district board. The residents of Hesperia will benefit by the city's purchase of the course, he added.


Smith and other officials said they are concerned about water conservation and will look at ways of reducing consumption. "We're going to cut down on water here."


Park district administrator Cal Camara expressed confidence in his staff, saying, "It's like taking over a small business at a moment's notice."


According to Podegracz, over the next year the city will reach out to the community and especially golf course neighbors to get their input "to see what is the best use of the course for the citizens." Depending on community input and other factors, the golf course may remain as it is, or the property could be reconfigured to encourage more people to use the facility.


While the facility could be altered to better fit today's needs, the sentiment expressed Friday seemed to be in favor of maintaining the integrity of the historic course, which was a PGA tour stop in the 1950s and 1960s.


"It's very clear the residents and the golfers are going to have to stick behind us to make this successful," Swanson said.