The city council of Altoona, Iowa, a Des Moines suburb, has approved a letter of intent to purchase the club from the family that has owned Terrace Hills for 54 years and resisted previous offers from developers, to ensure that the golf course would stay open. City officials see retaining the course as essential to remaining a “full-service community.”
The city of Altoona, Iowa is in talks to purchase its only public golf course from the family that has owned it for 54 years, the Des Moines (Iowa) Register reported.
The Altoona City Council approved a letter on December 3 declaring its intent to purchase Terrace Hills Golf Course for just less than $3.1 million by the end of next year, the Register reported. The city will hire a private company to manage the facility, starting in spring 2020.
Altoona is a Des Moines suburb with a population of just under 15,000.
Terrace Hills’ owner, Joe Riding, 56, told the Register that he and his wife, Leann, have received offers from developers over the past two years who wanted to turn the course into residential housing, but the family wanted to find a way to keep the course open.
“There comes a time with everything that it’s time to move on,” Riding said. “Our number-one goal was to see the golf course stay as a golf course.”
Altoona City Administrator Jeff Mark told the Register that the city also wanted to keep the facility open to avoid losing a community asset.
“When you say you’re a full-service community, we include golfing as one of those items we provide,” Mark said. “It’s a lot easier to keep the golf course you have than it is to go out and build a new golf course.”
Following the vote on December 3, the city planned to begin the search for a private company to manage the facility, the Register reported.
Under the terms in the letter of intent, the city would close on the property by December 31, 2019. The purchase would include the land, buildings, rights to the name and website, but not the golf course equipment and clubhouse furnishings.
Mark said the course will remain open during the transition and that the Ridings will manage the facility through the end of the 2019 golfing season, the Register reported.
Terrace Hills GC was opened in 1964 by Joe Riding’s grandparents, Joe and Clara Riding, the Register reported. The course remained in the family, and Joe and his wife assumed full ownership in 2014. It is the only golf course, public or private, in Altoona.
Riding told the Register that he and his wife work six to seven days a week at the course during the summer. They are looking forward to “semi-retirement” and being able to spend more time with their children and grandchildren, he said.
“If this [purchase] works out, we’ll be looking forward to Memorial Day 2020 when my wife and I can look at each other and say, ‘Hey what do you want to do over the weekend besides work?’” Riding said.
Pending approval of the final purchase, Terrace Hills will join a handful of city-owned golf courses in the metropolitan Des Moines area, the Register reported. The city of Des Moines operates three golf courses — A.H. Blank, Waveland and Bright Grandview — while the suburbs of Ankeny (Otter Creek) and Waukee (Sugar Creek) each own one.