HSV City Council votes to convert municipal golf course into par - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

HSV City Council votes to convert municipal golf course into park

(Source: WAFF Staff) (Source: WAFF Staff)

On Thursday night, the Huntsville City Council voted to transition the municipal golf course into a mixed-use park.

The city of Huntsville estimates it will cost $2.28 million to make the necessary repairs and upgrades to the course in order to reopen it. The plan to convert the course into a multi-use park was estimated to cost $1.25 million with with an additional $435,000 in improvements over the few years.

Four council members voted for the conversion. Councilman Bill Kling abstained.

The proposed plan would still keep a golf practice facility and driving range on the property but would also have walking and fitness trails, a mountain bike track and training facility, a Frisbee golf course, beach volleyball courts and a dog park.

Possibly the biggest part of this new park will be what the Huntsville Track Club hopes will be a "world class" cross country. Of course, the only of it's kind for 300 miles.

The Huntsville Track Club's Will Rodgers says the hilly terrain is already perfect for a course, and the high-school and collegiate meets that would be brought in by having that course means big money for the city.

“There's not that many places across the country that have something like that, the closest is in Tallahassee, FL. The amount of economic impact that would be brought in from hosting invitationals would be massive, just huge tax revenue,” said Rogers.

The city council will only have one choice tonight: to go ahead and explore the possibility of turning the course into a multi-use park, or not to. City Council President Jennie Robinson says no council member put an option on tonight’s agenda to move forward with any golf course developer’s proposal.

Area golfers are not too happy with the idea of losing one of their courses. Lenard Dollarhide said that the course is a point of civic pride for the city, it offers anyone who can't afford membership at other area courses a chance to play whenever they want, and if the city found the right developer to give the course a face-lift, it would solve the financial problems that have plagued the course over the last few years.

“I think they need to find someone and give them a reasonable lease, and a reasonable lease and they'll bring their equipment in and get it in shape that it needs to be, I mean it's to their advantage for the course to be in good shape. A good course brings participation, and participation brings in the money,”
said Dollarhide.

But the very reason they're looking to do something else with that land right off of Airport Road and Memorial Parkway is because the course fell into horrible shape, and low numbers of players have made the course a financial burden on the city.

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