The Red Wing (Minn.) City Council set October 14 as the date for selecting the best qualified proposal to re-open and operate the municipal course. The city has also filed a lawsuit against former operator Wendell Pittenger, who walked away from his lease last fall on the day that more than $700,000 was due to Associated Bank.
The Red Wing City Council hammered out the language it will use as it seeks a new operator for Mississippi National Golf Links, the Rochester (Minn.) Post-Bulletin reported.
The city set October 14 as the date for selecting the “best qualified” proposal to operate the course. That date coincides with the city’s hope to have the golf course operational for the 2014 season, the Post-Bulletin reported.
All proposals received by the city will be made public when the request for proposal process is closed on September 27, which is far earlier than state law requires, the Post-Bulletin reported. Council member Dean Hove proposed the earlier date in order to “be open and up front” with the public, because “this is a huge issue in this city.”
“I’ve got a real problem with that,” said council member Peggy Rehder, who declined Hove’s request for an amendment to her motion. “If you release them to the public, you’re opening up the proposals to lobbying in the council. I don’t think you necessarily reach a reasoned opinion once you do that.”
After clarifying that the bids will be opened after the deadline, banning proposers from altering plans or lobbying council members, and requiring written consent to make all but trade secrets available to the public, the council unanimously approved the updated language, the Post-Bulletin reported.
“I’m hopeful that we’ll get good responses, enough to give us a good choice,” city council president Lisa Bayley said.
The city council also approved $40,000 in unbudgeted expenses to winterize the course in hopes of opening it again in the spring. With the exception of the driving range, the property has been closed for the 2013 season. Additionally, the council commissioned a 5-10 minute phone survey of Red Wing citizens to get a better grasp of public perception of the municipal golf course, the Post-Bulletin reported.
The city council also went into closed session to discuss pending litigation surrounding the golf course. Longtime operator Wendell Pittenger walked away from his lease last fall on the day that more than $700,000 was due to Associated Bank. Red Wing has filed a suit against Pittenger over that missed payment, the Post-Bulletin reported.
The next hearing in the summary judgment process is scheduled for October 25 in Goodhue County District Court. If that doesn’t resolve the legal questions, it’s scheduled to go to trial in February 2014, the Post-Bulletin reported.
Bayley declined to discuss the closed session, but expressed optimism that the matter will be resolved without going to trial, the Post-Bulletin reported.
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