The city of Bay Minette, Ala., will begin the process of negotiating terms of transfer of the 64-acre property after the club’s members and Board of Directors approved the takeover last month. The city is not buying the property, but is expected to gain title to all of the non-profit’s assets by agreeing to assume the country club’s estimated $235,000 debt.
The Bay Minette City Council has voted to move forward with the acquisition of Holly Hills Country Club, the Birmingham (Ala.) News reported.
The unanimous vote on the resolution begins the process during which the city and the Bay Minette, Ala., club’s Board of Directors are expected to negotiate the terms of transfer of the 64-acre property, the News reported.
The Holly Hills Country Club Board and club members approved the city’s takeover last month, the News reported.
“Board members sent feelers our way to gauge our interest in taking it over,” Bay Minette Mayor Bob Wills said last week. “The people on the Board have worked very hard over the years to maintain the country club on their own, but with declining membership and public traffic over the past few years, they realized that they would not be able to do it any longer on their own.”
The country club, which was incorporated as a non-profit entity in November 1965, includes a recently renovated clubhouse, nine-hole golf course, practice range, maintenance equipment, golf carts and other accessories, the News reported.
The city is not buying the property, but is expected to gain title to all of the non-profit’s assets by agreeing to assume the country club’s estimated $235,000 debt, the News reported.
Baldwin County tax records show the assessed value of the land at $451,900 and the clubhouse at $197,200. The club is located about 3.5 miles south from the city’s southern limits, the News reported.
City attorney Scotty Lewis said an Alabama attorney general’s opinion confirmed a municipality’s ability to purchase property outside of its municipal limits as long as it will be used for municipal purposes, the News reported. The acquisition is too early in the process to discuss if the city would consider annexing contiguous lands to eventually bring the country club into municipal boundaries, Lewis said.
Wills suggested that the city may use a portion of a $1.2 million windfall received in December when it refinanced two municipal bond issues to pay off the debt and make additional improvements, the News reported.
With an assessed value of $649,100, Wills, who has been a dues-paying member for 40 years, said last week that he and the council believe the city is getting a deal. He is optimistic that within six months of the deal being completed the country club and golf course will be close to self-sustaining, the News reported.
“After the first six months I believe the Holly Hills will be able to carry itself, will not be a financial drain on the city and will be a very valuable asset to the city,” Wills said. “With the city’s PR and marketing capabilities and capital resources, we’ll be able to do things out there that the Board, even though they tried, just was not able to do.”
For many years, Wills said the clubhouse was the place to host meetings, banquets and dances. With it soon to be in city hands, he said the plan is to market it once again as a place to host multiple functions, the News reported.
“We plan on upgrading the kitchen with the intent of hopefully turning the clubhouse into a destination place for people wanting an alternative place to get dinner on a Friday or Saturday night,” Wills said. “I’m very optimistic. Word is already getting out across the region that the city is taking it over. We think it will be a positive for us. There’s already momentum building.”
No decisions have yet been made as to what memberships will cost or how much it will cost others to rent the clubhouse to host a function. The city wants to structure membership rates in such a way that there are benefits to joining, Wills said, while also increasing the club’s attractiveness to the general public, the News reported.