The Mayor of Green, Ohio has worked out a nonbinding purchase agreement for the property with its owner and will introduce legislation to city council to acquire the 145-acre site. Mayor Gerard Neugebauer said his main goal isn’t to get the city into the municipal golf club business, but to preserve the property as green space and control it from undesirable development.
Mayor Gerard Neugebauer of Green, Ohio wants to buy Raintree Country Club to preserve it as green space, the Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal reported.
The mayor was scheduled to introduce legislation to the Green city council this week to buy the 145-acre site, which includes a banquet facility, for $3.3 million, the Beacon Journal reported. Neugebauer has worked out a nonbinding purchase agreement for the property with John Ranieri, who owns the golf club.
Neugebauer said his main goal isn’t that the city get into the municipal golf course business, but rather make sure it controls what happens to the large parcel of land in the future, the Beacon Journal reported.
“I value green space,” Neugubauer said on August 8th.
The Mayor’s fear is that a developer could buy the property and build high-density, multi-family homes that would stress the city’s infrastructure and schools, the Beacon Journal reported. With the city owning the land, he feels, it could determine whether the property continues to be run as a golf course or is used for some other purpose down the road.
At this point, Neugebauer is proposing that a third-party operate the course for the city, the Beacon Journal reported.
Raintree is an 18-hole, 6,936-yard public course that opened in 1992 and abuts Interstate 77.
Neugebauer said Green benefits now by having five golf courses within its borders that attract visitors—Chenoweth, Mayfair, Ohio Prestwick, Raintree and Turkeyfoot Lake, the Beacon Journal reported.
“Those are assets to our community, and I’d like to retain them,” he said. “I hope the residents are behind it.”
Green City Council President Chris Humphrey told the Beacon Journal that it’s too early to say whether the council would support the purchase, noting that he wants to examine the financial details.
“The only reason that we would probably even think about it is to control how that land is developed because it’s a significant piece of property in the city,” he said.
The council is not expected to vote on the legislation when it is proposed by the mayor, the Beacon Journal reported.
If the purchase is eventually approved by city council, the Beacon Journal reported, Green wouldn’t be the only community with a municipal-owned golf course in the Akron area. Akron, Hudson, Massillon, Stow and Twinsburg are among local governments with publicly owned courses, which often require subsidies to operate.
The Juniper, Fla.-based National Golf Foundation (NGF) reported earlier this year that there were 2,497 government-owned municipal facilities around the country last year, accounting for about 17 percent of all courses nationwide, the Beacon Journal reported. The trend among municipalities is not to build new courses but to take over public fee and private clubs, and the NGF cited zoning issues and preservation of green space as two of the reasons.
Officials in Green said they are consulting with other communities for advice, the Beacon Journal reported. They also are determining operating costs, maintenance and feasibility of maintaining the property.
Rainieri, who also owns the nearby private Ohio Prestwick Country Club, told the Beacon Journal that Raintree CC is a money-maker. “The taxpayer wouldn’t be burdened to support it whatsoever,” he said.
And Rainieri wants the city to buy it instead of a developer, the Beacon Journal reported. “I’d like to keep it as a golf course and green space,” he said.
Rainieri, who is a member of the Northern Ohio PGA Hall of Fame and started his golf career as a caddie at Congress Lake Golf Club in Lake Township, Ohio told the Beacon Journal that he is looking to sell both Raintree and Ohio Prestwick because “I’m 82 years old and want to retire. It’s about time.” He also said he has been caring for his wife, who has cancer.
Over the years, the Beacon Journal reported, Rainieri founded Paradise Lake and Suffield Springs golf courses in Portage County, Ohio before selling those and opening Raintree and then buying Ohio Prestwick. He also was involved with Cooks Creek, south of Columbus Ohio, for a decade.