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Local group pushes for town’s ownership of Wynridge course

Local group pushes for town’s ownership of Wynridge course
By DONNA RYDER
Associate Editor
Buy the golf course.
That was the message delivered to the Troy mayor and board of aldermen Monday night by residents who crowded into the town’s board room during a monthly meeting.
Presenting themselves as the Friends of Wynridge Golf Course, the group came to the meeting with a petition signed by more than 400 people who want the town to buy the land and reopen the golf course.
“We the undersigned realize our community had a real jewel with such a wonderful golf course in Troy. It has been enjoyed and admired by so many in our community and throughout the region,” a letter presented to the board states.
“This golf course has provided revenue to our city, county and state. It also was recognized by all as one of the most enjoyable golf courses in the area. Not only closing of the golf course is a loss in revenue for Troy, it’s a loss to local businesses where our golfers traded in gas, restaurants and other stores in our community. One of the biggest losses is to the homes in Wynridge Drive, which will devalue in thousands of dollars.
“All in all, we are asking you to step in and take pride in our town and these facilities to purchase, lease or apply for grants that are available to the city to continue the operations of this golf course. If this is not done, it will be a low blow to our community and a loss to all.
“We thank you in advance for preserving this valuable asset to the city of Troy, as well as to the surrounding communities,” the letter states.
Points brought out by the group as to why the town should buy the property include:
• The golf course is a revenue providing business. All of the sales at the course produce income for Troy, which benefits all residents by keeping taxes low.
• Grants are available to municipalities for recreational purchases. A walking trail at the golf course complex could be enjoyed by all residents.
• The location of the golf course adjacent to Obion County Central High School is good for coordinating future activities.
• With Troy having two exits off of the upcoming I-69, it is a real plus to acquiring new industry. An 18-hole golf course is always an additional benefit to attracting industry.
• The acquisition of valuable real estate within the city limits is a smart investment for Troy for the present time and in the future.
• Other cities in Tennessee and in nearby regions own their golf courses and either run them or lease them for a nominal fee and continue to receive income from them. Examples given included Waynesboro, Howenwald and Dyersburg.
• Renting the club house dining space for meetings, catered functions or golf tournaments would bring in additional revenue. Using the facilities for private business golf outings, high school and college tournaments or fund raisers would generate income, in addition to regular membership and golfing fees and sales.
“Wynridge Golf Course has been a real asset to Troy and its citizens. We all lose if the course is not preserved,” the letter states.
In favor of the town purchasing the golf course property, alderman Deanna Chappell said she had been on the phone all day Monday and had spoken with several people who run golf courses in West Tennessee. She said one of them told her, “Losing a golf course is like losing a little bit of the community.”
She said Tony Black in Jackson was shocked to find that Wynridge had closed, saying it was “a great course.”
Mrs. Chappell said a golf course draws industry and increases the quality of life.
She said last week the high school, with the help of local farmers, moved a mountain of dirt for a soccer field and band practice field. This field is right next to the back nine. She said the town’s current recreational complex is overloaded and the town is in need of more fields and more parking.
The back nine holes would be the perfect location for a new recreational complex.
“This is not just about the homes at Wynridge,” Mrs. Chappell said, adding, “If this window closes, not only will it close, but it will slam shut. If it closes, there will never be another (golf course) in Troy.”
She said she has spoken with Dr. Jim Byford and he has come down on the price for his portion of the course so his profit will only be $7,000. She said Jimmy Seals said to “make him an offer.”
“I think we need to pursue this,” she said.
Mrs. Chappell said she knows economic times are hard, but if someone comes to look at the spec building in the industrial park and asks what can the town provide, “We’ll have to say the golf course just closed … and we let it.”
She added the board spends money in town on things that are needed, but those things don’t bring in revenue. The course could bring in revenue for the town.
Mayor Jimmie Hart asked the group if they knew of anyone who would like to lease the golf course if the town purchased it. They did not. He also asked how many of the 400 people who signed the petition would be willing to purchase a membership. Though the answer was uncertain, the spokesman for the group said probably at least half. The club had 102 members when it closed. One resident in the audience said a lot of members had left to go to the Goodyear course in Union City because the condition of the course in Troy had deteriorated.
The mayor told the group this is not a “dead issue” and a lot of things are tied together. He said the town doesn’t need the building if it doesn’t have the land. “This is not a dead issue. It has to be worked out.”
After the crowd left and other business was discussed, the board agreed they needed to meet with the landowners to negotiate a price before any decision is made.
Hart said the board needs to keep in mind that if the town buys the land, the people who live in Wynridge will expect it to be kept like a golf course and that will require money to purchase equipment and to have someone maintain the grounds.
Published in The Messenger 8.3.11

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