The city of Gary, Ind. is entertaining offers for redevelopment of the Gleason Golf Course, which has been on the market since 2018. Conversely, Britt, Iowa bought the golf course from the Britt Country Club for $160,000.
While a town in Iowa has purchased a local course to save it from debt, an Indiana city is looking to get out of the golf business.
The city of Gary, Ind. is entertaining offers for redevelopment on the historic, but little used, South Gleason Golf Course in its Midtown neighborhood, The Northwest Indiana Times reported.
Previous Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson put the 18-hole, par-71 public golf course on the market in 2018, when Gary was staring down a $17 million budget hole, The Times reported. Last August, now-mayor Jerome Prince was informed of an offer on the property, he said July 10 in a radio interview on WLTH.
“There are several city assets that have been up for sale for a while,” he said.
Originally known as Riverside Park, South Gleason Park dates back to 1920 and features a clubhouse designed by the famed architect George Maher, The Times reported. But lately the golf course on the south side of the Little Calumet River has suffered from inactivity, and the city has been forced to subsidize its operations, Prince said.
“From a data-drive perspective, one of the things that really jumped out was our numbers,” Prince said on WLTH. “Comparatively speaking, the closest golf course is Turkey Creek, which had 55,000 rounds of golf played there compared to our 5,000 back in 2018. That in itself suggests we should have taken a different look at the golf course.”
The incoming administration negotiated with the prospective buyer last year, but no deal came to fruition, The Times reported. The city deemed the offer to be too low and presented a counteroffer that was rejected.
But a new prospective buyer has come forward, The Times reported.
“It just didn’t seem to be advantageous toward the city,” Prince said. “Since then, a new offer is on the table that’s 33 percent higher than the offer was back in August. At this point, it seems we may be in line for future development.”
No deal has been finalized yet, The Times reported.
“I don’t like to get ahead of the ball,” Prince said. “But if this deal comes to fruition, it will help to increase assessed value. Whatever development takes place there it will be something pleasing to the community. We take into account that IUN is right there. It will increase assessed valuation and provide local employment.”
In Britt, Iowa, City Council officially bought the Britt Golf Course from the Britt Country Club in two resolutions July 14, the Mason City Globe Gazette reported. The city council had agreed to purchase the golf course for $160,000—the loan amount the country club had left to pay off for the golf course—in a town hall meeting March 3.
The city will pay for the golf course in three years, paying $50,000 the first year, $50,000 the second year and the remaining balance in the third year, the Globe Gazette reported, all paid through local options sales tax funds, Britt Mayor Ryan Arndorfer said in the March 3 meeting.
Going forward, the city will lease the golf course back to a new golf course board, which will have at least two council members and at least three members of the original board, for a small amount of money, the Globe Gazette reported.
The golf course, which was owned and run by a non-profit group formed solely for the course in 1966, asked the city to buy it for the price of its debt, which was $160,000, due to financial circumstances and its inability to maintain itself and pay off the debt at the same time for much longer, the Globe Gazette reported.
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