By TIM COKER
Members of the Dogwood Hills Country Club were present at the Feb. 5 work study meeting of the Portland City Council to gauge the city’s interest in acquiring the approximately 90-acre establishment as a municipal golf course.
Alderman Drew Jennings, who is a member of the club, began by laying out some of the basic issues facing the club that has led to the club’s Board of Directors to seek the City’s input.
“The note for the clubhouse is about $275,000. The value of the property itself would be anywhere from 1 to 1.2 million dollars.”
Jennings also explained why the club was approaching the City instead of a private company.
“As a part of the charter, the club can only be sold to a non-profit,” Jennings said, explaining that if the city did not buy the property, and if it was to go into foreclosure, it would go to public auction.
“I believe if that property went to public auction, I believe it would probably sell to someone who would want to build houses on it,” Alderman Brian Harbin said.
“If we went ahead and bought this piece of property, we’re still going to have to put more money there because we don’t want it to fall out of the condition to be a golf course,” Alderman David Andrews pointed out.
Mayor Ken Wilber asked City Attorney John Bradley how other municipalities manage municipal courses.
“Hendersonville has a management company handle all of the upkeep and running the course,” Bradley explained.
“I don’t think we can consider this as buying a golf course,” Alderman Harbin said. “We don’t have time to determine if we can keep it a golf course anymore if we have to do this within the next 60 days. If it could remain a golf course, that would be great, but we don’t have enough time to come up with any business model to see if the city can feasibly run a golf course. To me, I’d say we have to figure out if we want this property as a piece of property, not a golf course.”
“Everybody would love to see the club make it on its own, but number two, if we need to get involved and help keep that, then we are willing to do that,” Mayor Wilber said.
The Mayor asked the body if they would willing to see how quick they could get input form a management company regarding the annual cost of running a course and other possible expenses.
Alderman Mike Callis also asked the Mayor to come with an option of how the course would be bought and figures for upkeep.
The Council agreed and consented to visit the idea again at a future work study.