The 145-acre property will be owned by the city and remain a golf course and event center once the $3.3 million sale is finalized. Six management firms have submitted bids to run the 26-year-old club for the city.
The city of Green, Ohio will own Raintree Country Club by the end of the year after City Council voted to pay $3.3 million to buy the property and keep it as a golf course and event center for the near future, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.
Raintree CC opened in 1992 with a golf course designed by Brian Huntley. It has been owned by John Rainieri, who also owns the nearby private Ohio Prestwick Country Club. Rainieri, 82, proposed the sale of Raintree to Green Mayor Gerard Neugebauer earlier this year (https://clubandresortbusiness.com/ohio-towns-mayor-proposes-buying-raintree-cc-3-3m/), assuring Neugebauer that Raintree is a money-making operation and that he only wanted to sell it as part of his transition to retirement.
The split-vote purchase agreement was approved 5-2, with council President Chris Humphrey and Ward 4 Councilman Matt Shaughnessy opposing the proposal, the Beacon Journal reported.
According to the Beacon Journal report, closing on the 145-acre public golf course and event center will be completed by the end of this year, as requested by Rainieri.
“I’m glad that council finally made their decision to purchase and I’m glad they agreed with the purchase,” Neugebauer said. “I think it will be a great asset for the community and long term we will look back on this purchase as being something extremely beneficial to our community.”
Gust Callas, Rainieri’s lawyer, said “the 5-2 vote speaks for the future of the city of Green,” the Beacon Journal reported. “I think this is a leap forward, and hopefully it will be good for the city,” Callas said.
Green, located between Akron and Canton and part of the Akron Metropolitan Statistical Area, had a population of just under 26,000 at the 2010 census.
Six management firms have submitted bids to run the golf course for the city, and three have been selected for interviews next week, the Beacon Journal reported. The city didn’t disclose the names of the management companies that will be interviewed.
A selection is expected to be made at the council’s November 27 meeting, the Beacon Journal reported.
Before the vote, resident Pat Carleski told the council she was opposed to spending millions to keep the land as a golf course instead of using it for parks and recreation that all residents of Green could enjoy rather than only golfers, the Beacon Journal reported.
The mayor said his first intention was not for the city to operate the golf course, but that the land be preserved for green space with a management company operating the facility, the Beacon Journal reported. Under that arrangement, the land could also be considered for other parks and recreation activities, such as cross-country skiing and sledding, Neugebauer noted.
“What if three or five years down the road, the community looks at this property and says maybe there is something else we could do with it. I certainly encourage those discussions,” the mayor added.
According to the Beacon Journal report, Humphrey said he decided to vote against the purchase “based upon the interest of all 26,000 residents in the city.”
Humphrey added that he objects to purchasing a capital asset with money the city doesn’t have and therefore competing with, rather than supporting, other businesses in the city, the Beacon Journal reported. He also termed the purchase of green space “a red herring.”
“The fourth reason I am opposed to this is because I believe it is expensive,” Humphrey added. “I don’t believe it provides a good value for our citizens. Our own appraiser said that if we were going to use it as a golf course, a fair price to pay was $2.7 million.”
Humphrey also said that more residential development would benefit the schools more through more property-tax collections, the Beacon Journal reported.
Councilman Stephen Dyer said flexibility is what sold him on the purchase, the Beacon Journal reported. He noted that 2,000 homes were built in Green since 2000, while the student population of Green schools has decreased.
According to the Beacon Journal report, Shaughnessy voiced concerns that purchasing the site now will keep the Green Charter Commission from acting on the issue in 2019, and he believes the city will lose control if the club is operated by a management group.