Productive Day Golf (doesn’t mean a good day for golfers)
So much for a private upscale housing development of the 80 acres that would generate a $10 million endowment (see above article). On 1/9/01, the Board approved a plan to develop the 80 acres as a Productive Day Golf Facility. What’s that?
In 11/98, the Board discussed the development of a golf facility jointly between Parks and County Corrections. The Corrections department sees it as an opportunity to employ 30 workhouse inmates at a newly constructed $3.5 million golf facility as part of their productive day program. According to the plan, the golf course will be ready by 2003 and financed with bonds and repaid with golf course revenues. Greg Mack, Director Parks and Recreation described the resurrected plan as an opportunity for the Parks and Recreation Department to apply their expertise to develop, operate and maintain the golf course. Joan Fabian, Director, County Corrections stated (Pioneer Press, 1/10/01) that “there is a need for more jobs for some of the workhouse’s 300 inmates.
Janice, in the same article said, "we could sell it for high-buck housing." She said expensive homes would generate property tax revenue far greater than any profits from the course. Commissioner Bennett wanted to know if there really was a need for another golf course, He recollected that a private Woodbury golf course had just failed and is now being considered for Townhomes. He asked Mack specifically if some housing could be considered for the site. Mack replied that if directed they could look into it, but that 26.7 acres were to be kept open and natural and that he doubted housing could be worked in on the remainder.
In 1998, 200 adjacent residents signed a petition for the original plan, because it meant that the land would remain open space. This was when the County was requesting State legislation for funding this nine hole golf course. Proponents (Star Tribune 1/10/01) argued that the golf course would provide an opportunity to preserve open space, generate additional revenue and provide work experience for about 30 inmates.
Janice sees it as a missed “smart growth” opportunity to add precious "life cycle" housing to the County. This could be the North Oaks of Maplewood and the tax generated dollars would be the endowment needed for building affordable housing now. If we do not have a wide spectrum of housing, the City and County, will degenerate and lose its attractiveness for new economic development.
It was just two weeks ago that the Board stated a need to develop policy on land use and sale of Real Property to establish an endowment. In Janice’s opinion, this 80 acres was the likeliest property to establish a $10 million endowment. What will the Board do now?
Author: Commissioner Rettman's Office / Information Services