When asked what should be done with the aging Sumner Meadows Golf Course, a majority of surveyed residents asked their city to sell.
On Monday, the Sumner City Council agreed and voted 6-1 to authorize the mayor to begin marketing the course on the market for development.
There are no interested buyers at this point, although there has been interest, said Mayor Dave Enslow. The council would have to approve any sale.
“If it weren’t for this [vote], we wouldn’t be looking at any sales. It all still has to play out—if it’s quick, slow or whether [a sale] happens at all,” said Enslow.
In 1993, Sumner purchased the 292 acres of land for $5 million. Of the original 292 acres, about 172 are considered developable today and could yield the city $34.6 million, say city officials. If sold for development, about 150 acres—about half the land—would remain green space.
“If we are able to sell half the space and get upwards of $30 million for it, we could pay off our debt and still have about $20 million to do with what we please,” said councilmember Steve Allsop. “This could result in a potpourri of possibilities—we could improve parks, reduce utility rate pressures… tons of stuff.”
Councilmember Randy Hynek was the lone “no” vote to sell the course, and he said it’s because he sees the course as a “fantastic investment” and doesn’t want to see the entire property sold. He said he would have liked to see a nine-hole course option on the table.
“It would have been paid off, we’d be debt free and a [nine-hole course] would be an income generator,” said Hynek. “Plus, we’d still have half the property.”
With no developer knocking on the City Hall door with check in hand, however, the city must continue to subsidize the course and could renegotiate it’s contract with Billy Casper, the golf course management group hired to run Sumner Meadows. Sumner still owes $5.77 million for the building and construction of the course, including this year’s interest, plus about $900,000 in internal loans.