City of Worthington asked to consider offer from GreatLIFE on local golf course
A proposal to deed the GreatLIFE golf course and facility — and multiple financial responsibilities — was discussed during a special meeting of the Worthington City Council.
WORTHINGTON — A proposal that would see the GreatLIFE golf course and facility deeded over to the city of Worthington was the topic of discussion at a special meeting of the Worthington City Council on Wednesday.
The proposed agreement, submitted by GreatLIFE’s Tom Walsh, Sr., is contingent on GreatLIFE’s continued operation, maintenance and management of the facility as well as retention of all facility equipment. The property encompasses approximately 118 acres and includes an 18-hole golf course, clubhouse, restaurant, fitness center, swimming pool, maintenance building and cart building.
As part of the agreement, the city would become responsible for any necessary improvements needed to comply with ADA requirements, all costs and expenses associated with facility capital improvements, maintain an adequate supply of irrigated water from Lake Okabena, and cover the cost of all necessary chemicals and fertilizers used in the maintenance of the golf course grounds — requirements that drew concern from several city council members about the potential cost of the agreement.
“I'm never going to deny the amenity benefits to a community,” said Councilman Chad Cummings, “but this city also got out of the golf course game … because it wasn't cost-effective.”
In its offer, GreatLIFE would retain 50% of the first $100,000 in annual net profit with 50% of the first $100,000 in annual “cash flow” paid to the city. Thereafter, Great Life would retain all excess cash flow. The initial term of the operations appointment is three years with mutual options of one-year renewals thereafter.
City attorney Jeff Flynn said that Walsh’s biggest concern appeared to be irrigation of the golf course, something he hoped to mediate with the riparian rights designated to the city through their ownership of property along Lake Okabena.
Councilwoman Amy Ernst asked whether or not it would be possible to assign some of those rights to the golf course, without the city taking responsibility for the facility.
While no official action was taken during the meeting, the council asked that Flynn look into state statutes regarding water usage, and stated that no action would be taken by the city regarding the proposal without direction from the council.