Leader Blues

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

TOP STORY >>Buyer offers to sell city country club for $5.1M

Leader staff writer

The sale of the North Hills Country Club and golf course for $5.1 million will be finalized this week. And if the city of Sherwood wants to keep it a golf course they too will have to pay $5.1 million to purchase it, soon-to-be owner Ron Campbell told Mayor Bill Harmon.

The two got together Monday in the mayor’s office to clarify rumors and lay everyone’s cards on the table.“We’d be happy to sell the property,” Campbell told the mayor, adding he and his business partner want to keep five acres on the corner of Hwy. 107 and North Hills Boulevard.

The five acres with 1,500 square feet of frontage on John F. Kennedy Boulevard, would turn a profit for the partners down the road and might possibly be turned into commercial property. He said he already has two parties interested in the frontage for use as commercial property, as well as someone interested in purchasing the 90-acre country club and golf course property for $7.1 million.

“Naturally, if we sell to anyone, it’d be you guys (Sherwood),” Campbell said, “they don’t separate the money at the bank from one buyer to the next.”

“It’s a business deal for us, but for the city to raise $7 million would be a pretty big chore; the golf course has been losing money for years,” he said.

“Five million will be a chore,” the mayor said, conceding however that $5 million would be easier than $7 million. For the city to purchase the property, residents would have to vote on a tax proposal.

“This is what we wanted to know,” Harmon told Campbell. “We’ll take it before the (city) council and see what we’ll do,” Harmon said.

Campbell said he recognized the property as a tremendous buy and considers it “the most beautiful property on this side of the river.”

If the city decides not to purchase the golf course, the property might become a gated residential community of $400,000 to $500,000 homes. If the land becomes a housing development then Sherwood could become the only city of its size in the state without a golf course within its city limits.

Mayor Danny Stedman hired a consultant to conduct a feasibility study of the golf course before he resigned on April 5, just four months into his term, citing health reasons.

Stedman signed a contract with W.P.D. Golf Management in Horseshoe Bay, Texas to see if a city-operated golf course was a viable option after the consultant addressed the golf course exploratory committee.

Members of the committee include Aldermen Becki Vassar and Keith Rankin, City Attorney Steve Cobb, Linda Nickle from the city’s economic development department, City Engineer Michael Clayton, Parks and Recreation director Sonny Janssen and Cheryl Ferguson with the city’s advertising and promotion department.