The city of Montrose, Colo. is exploring several options that include taking over management of the course, purchasing it, or entering into a lease agreement with the current owner-operator. A decision is expected at the next public meeting on December 17.
The city of Montrose, Colo. is close to finalizing a deal to preserve the entire 18-hole Black Canyon Golf Course, reported The Watch of Montrose. City Manager Bill Bell said on December 5 that the city could take over the management of the course, purchase the course or enter into a lease agreement with the private Montrose Land Company (MLC).
Bell said the Montrose City Council directed city staff to have three options for the council to review and decide at its next public meeting on December 17, The Watch reported.
In September, MLC, which owns the front nine holes (and maintains the City of Montrose-owned back nine), asked the city for more than double its annual contribution for maintenance costs, from $50,000 to $100,000, and for another for $150,000 for capital improvements, The Watch reported.
At the time, city officials said the annual payments were not in the taxpayers’ best interest and declined. Following that announcement, many residents voiced concern to council that the course needed to be saved, The Watch reported. The city has been in negotiations with MLC ever since, and Bell said the city was meeting with attorneys from MLC on December 6.
Options being considered include a lease of the facility, a sale of the front nine from MLC to the city, or a management agreement through which the city would take over the course’s operations beginning in 2014, The Watch reported.
“The council will have the option to approve more than one [option], all of them or none of them,” Bell said. The “long-term goal,” he added, is to preserve the course in a way that will serve the best interests of the city, tourists and local businesses, while also keeping it as a viable recreation option, The Watch reported.
In December 1987, the city signed binding contracts with seven back-nine landowners to maintain the land as a golf course, with only bathrooms and rain shelters on the property, The Watch reported. Fences running through the property would be prohibited, and weed control and lawn maintenance was the city’s responsibility.
The covenants were part of the agreement when landowners deeded property over to the city, The Watch reported. But Bell said the situation has become more complicated, because not all agreements with the landowners state the city is responsible for maintaining the area as a golf course.
MLC was first formed in 1961 for the purpose of bringing golf to Montrose, The Watch reported, and it opened and operated the Black Canyon Golf Club as a nine-hole golf course until 1986. It was then, at the request of the Montrose Economic Development Corporation, that a set of landowners donated land to the City of Montrose. The city accepted the donation and, after $300,000 in general revenue bonds were issued, the course’s back nine holes were built. The city leased the back nine to MLC, and it has operated the full 18-hole golf course since that time.
For many years, Black Canyon GC was the only 18-hole golf course in the region, The Watch reported—but that changed with the opening of two courses that were part of community developments: Cobble Creek in 1999, and The Bridges (“Beyond Troubled Waters,” C&RB, December 2011) in 2003.