Assistant Manager Arnold Keene retires from RSF Association


Rancho Santa Fe Association Assistant Manager Arnold Keene is retiring after 20 years serving the community. Keene spent 15 of his 20 years heading up the Parks and Recreation department and estimates that he knows every inch of the Ranch.

“I know every tree, every trail and every open space property,” Keene said. “It’s a beautiful community.”

Arnold Keene

The Vista resident said it is the right time for him to step away, knowing that the organization is in good hands with a great team. The Association will miss his institutional knowledge as he is one of the longest-running employees.

“The amount he contributed to this community, in many different ways, is irreplaceable,” said RSF Association President Bill Weber at the board’s Oct. 7 meeting.

A Los Angeles native, prior to joining the Association in 2003 Keene owned a Manhattan Beach landscape design and construction business. He owned the firm for 15 years, winning several awards from the California Landscape Contractors Association for residential landscape projects.

As head of the Parks and Recreation Department, he oversaw the Association’s open spaces, fields, parks and roadside landscapes.

“The parks department was the best job in the world,” he said.

He loves the Rancho Santa Fe Sports Fields with its wide expanse of green grass and the natural environment at the Arroyo Preserve. He is proud of the work done to improve, protect and maintain the “special” Osuna Ranch over the years since the Association purchased the property in 2006. He is perhaps most proud of the work done to enhance the Village parks, which 10 years ago were just grass with some dying eucalyptus trees—the Association reshaped the parks and added plantings, benches and a meandering trail.

“That area is really one of my favorite projects of all time,” said Keene, who hopes to add roses near the base of the parks’ newest resident, the Lilian Rice statue.

Keene was promoted to assistant manager in 2018, many times joking about having to wear a suit and tie at Association meetings. As assistant manager he took on a heavy load of overseeing field operations, the RSF Patrol and Osuna Ranch departments, as well as various infrastructure projects including the development of the RSF Connect high speed fiber-optic network, the $19 million project that brought one gigabit service to all Covenant homeowners.

Keene’s last official day is Oct. 28 and he will work with the Association on a limited basis through January to help with the transition. Manager Christy Whalen said they will be lucky to find someone who is half as qualified as Keene was during his 20 years serving the community.

“Arnold has made an indelible impression on Rancho Santa Fe. Whether it is beautifying our parks and roadsides, cleaning up trees after a storm or overseeing the installation of our fiber optic network, Arnold performs at the highest levels,” Whalen said. “ However, it is his responsiveness, kindness and sense of humor that members comment the most about. Arnold has often advised new staff members to ‘make a new friend every day.’ He has made countless friends over the last 20 years, and he will be missed by all of us.”