The 18-hole public course in Urbana, Ill. was opened in 1999 and has been managed by KemperSports since 2012. Its owner, The Atkins Group, cited “waning demand for golf, escalating operating costs and [the need for] essential capital improvements” as reasons for deciding to close the course, pro shop and restaurant on the property. An architectural and land-planning firm has now been commissioned to come up with alternative plans for the Stone Creek community.
Stone Creek Golf Course in Urbana, Ill. is closing and plans are being made to redevelop the golf course portion of the community property, according to an announcement made by The Atkins Group on January 6th, The News-Gazette of Champaign, Ill. reported.
“It is our plan to close Attie’s restaurant on January 17th and the Stone Creek Golf Course and Pro Shop on January 31,” the company said in a news release, citing “waning demand for golf, the escalating operating costs, and essential capital improvements” that are needed at the course, The News-Gazette reported. Anyone with a paid season golf pass for 2020 will receive a full refund, the company said.
The 18-hole public course was designed by Tim and Dick Nugent and built in 1999, and has been managed since 2012 by KemperSports.
“We are committed to the success of the master plan community of Stone Creek, but unfortunately, due to the negative financial impacts of the golf business we are no longer able sustain the golf course as a viable business for this area,” added Spencer Atkins, Director of Development for The Atkins Group, in the company’s statement.
“Consequently, we have done a lot of work in an effort to provide a development solution that will provide more natural green open space, walking trails and other community benefits.”
In 2018, Atkins told The News-Gazette that the golf course had never made money and might not stay open past the end of the year.
Later that year, he said it would stay open for at least another year.
The Atkins Group has commissioned an architectural and land-planning firm to come up with alternatives for the Stone Creek community, The News-Gazette reported. The company owns the majority of the remaining vacant land there, it said, and residents there will be able to preview the plan, beginning this spring.
While rumors about the status of the golf course had swirled for a few years, The News-Gazette reported, some residents in the development were as surprised as anyone to hear as the new year began that it would be closing at the end of January.
“Over Thanksgiving, they were advertising their 2020 rates for the golf course,” Mark Palermo, who moved about five years ago into his house on a block that is in the middle of the golf course, told The News-Gazette. “That’s why when I got the e-mail [announcing the closing], I was like, ‘Where did this come from?’”
Karen Decker, who said she had just moved in on October 16, told The News-Gazette that she “had no idea that [closing the course] was a possibility” and was shocked to hear the news.
“I literally just moved in less than three months ago, and if they knew about it then, I’m disappointed that they did not share that,” said Decker, a University of Illinois retiree.
While Stone Creek residents will be able to review design features of The Atkins Group’s new plan for the property in the spring, for now they are left wondering what the course’s closing will mean for their property values, The News-Gazette reported.
“That’ll change things, that’s for sure. I wonder if that will immediately devalue every piece of property along here,” Decker said.