The Town of Kingstree, S.C. has had a first right of refusal if the land was put up for sale to be used as anything other than a golf course since 1973. Town Manager Richard Treme says no taxpayer money will be used to buy the land, and that there could be a “shared cost.”
The Town of Kingstree, S.C. is set to exercise its right of first refusal to halt the sale of the Swamp Fox Golf Club, keeping it a golf course, The Post and Courier of Charleston, S.C. reported. The issue of the future of golf course was brought before town council by a group of concerned citizens during the May 16 meeting.
The town has had a first right of refusal if the land was put up for sale to be used as anything other than a golf course since 1973, The Post and Courier reported.
“There’s been a wide community input for it to remain a golf course,” Kingstree Town Manager Richard Treme said. Treme said he was unsure how exactly the town had a right of first refusal to land that was outside town limits, but at some point, the town had an interest in the land and was able to put it into the deed, The Post and Courier reported.
The matter came to attention of the town when it received a May 9, letter from William O’Bryan of the O’Bryan and O’Bryan law firm, The Post and Courier reported. The firm is representing David Tomlinson, who operates the golf course, and lives on the property. The letter stated they had a buyer for the property, but that the town had a right of first refusal.
The letter, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, details the extent of the offer, a $1.2M cash offer as well as some conditions to the agreement, The Post and Courier reported. The letter also says that they would expect the town to be bound by all terms of the agreement, not just the cost. A call to O’Bryan was not immediately returned. Tomlinson declined to comment.
Had the town not exercised its right of first refusal, it is unclear as to what the land would be used for, The Post and Courier reported. A real estate listing lists the property as “Swamp Fox Retreat.” The listing mentions that the land is currently used as an active golf course, but says that the 18 fairways “could be converted into food plots or kept for golfing practice.”
Many around Kingstree believe the land would have been used to raise cattle or used to harvest timber, if the sale was allowed to proceed, The Post and Courier reported. Robert Waddell, the listing agent, said he did not have time to speak before the deadline for this story.
While Treme does not know how much it will cost the town, he said no taxpayer money will be used to buy the land, and that there could be a “shared cost,” The Post and Courier reported.
At the town council meeting held May 16, the council heard from several stakeholders on the issue, including Williamsburg County Economic Development Executive Director Gilleon Frieson, The Post and Courier reported.
“The economic impact of a thriving golf club will be essential to this area,” Frieson said in a letter that was read at the meeting. “[The golf course] sets us apart from many rural communities we compete with for economic viability.”
Treme echoed this sentiment calling the course an “asset,” The Post and Courier reported. Treme said he does not know exact number of golfers the course receives each day, but that it could attract more people with some investment into the course.
Treme told The Post and Courier that with the on-going efforts of revitalizing the town, the golf course being eliminated would be a loss for the town.
“For whatever reason, we have the first right of refusal,” Treme said. “And we’re going to take advantage of it.”