Proposals would keep Springfield golf course open

A request for proposals was posted on the city’s website in late July and the deadline for interested parties to submit proposals was Sept. 2. City staff members opened the proposals last week.

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“We were pleased to see that there was interest from two separate parties,” City Manager Jim Bodenmiller said. “Both proposals were for leasing the property and continuing to operate it as a golf course. Each of the proposals request financial support from the city, which is less than ideal given the city’s current financial condition.”

Reid Park Golf Course opened in the late 1960s and is currently managed for the city by National Trail Parks and Recreation District. The district closed Snyder Park Golf Course in January 2014 after years of financial struggles there.

The city has spent more than $1.1 million subsidizing its golf courses between 2012 and 2015. The city commission has decided it can no longer subsidize golf due to its budget constraints, the request said. The city will ask voters for a 0.4-percent earned income tax increase on Nov. 8.

One of the proposals is from Springfield attorney and former golf professional Alan Collins and former National Trail board member Jim Kincaid, a PGA golf professional.

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The group proposes to lease the facility and equipment for three years at a cost of $1 per year, including keeping a superintendent on the city’s payroll. The group also wants the city to remove water and storm sewer fees, as well as property and income taxes for the lease period.

It will also stabilize the golf operation and improve the golf course through a forestry program, the proposal says.

Collins, the son of former Reid Golf Pro El Collins, was in discussions this spring with the city about a lease deal for the courses, but the city opted to ask for proposals out of fairness to the rest of the community.

His proposal would help the city save money, Collins said, while also keeping the course operational. He still considers Reid his home course.

“It’s truly my motivation,” Collins said.

The other proposal came from Tango Kilo Golf LTD, which says the group has 50 years of golf experience. Representatives from the company couldn’t be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

It also wants to have water, sewer and property taxes abated, as well as a release from city or union employee obligations, the proposal says. The group is proposing three five-year lease periods, including operating fees of $50,000 for the first three years, and $25,000 for the fourth and fifth years. The group also believes the current equipment at the course will last three years with general maintenance.

“The New Reid Golf Course has been a long standing part of the city of Springfield and is a wonderful golf property,” the proposal says. “We would like the opportunity to help keep Reid part of the city of Springfield for quite some time to come.”

The city will evaluate the two proposals and follow up with the individual parties, Bodenmiller said. It may accept one or more proposals, or reject them all, and also has the right to negotiate changes, according to the request. No deadline has been set for making a selection.

“It’s a very important decision for us and I want to carefully review all options,” Bodenmiller said.

The property is valued at about $2.2 million, according to an appraisal completed last month. The most likely buyer would be a housing developer, the appraisal says.

Reid Park includes two 18-hole courses, service and maintenance facilities and a recreation park with shelter houses, restrooms and woods.

The city-owned property is currently tax-exempt. If purchased by a new owner or leased to a management company, it could lose its tax-exempt status. The tax valuation of the 11 total parcels is more than $16 million. The city has filed a complaint with the Clark County Board of Revision challenging that valuation.

Last year Reid saw about 36,300 rounds, down about 600 rounds from 2014. Through Aug. 31 of this year, the courses are at about 24,189 rounds — a decrease of about 2,200 rounds from the same time a year ago.

Reid has four full-time employees, including a golf pro, superintendent and two maintenance workers. The course also employs 32 seasonal workers for its pro shop, restaurant and course maintenance.

Clark County currently has nine golf courses for a total of 189 holes.

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