Golf board gives council chance to make counter offer
November 12. 2013 2:11PM
The Dell Rapids City Council is looking into the feasibility of purchasing the Rocky Run Golf Course for the second time in less than two years.
Rod Pierson with Dell Rapids Golf, Inc. told the council at it’s meeting last week that the club’s board has interest from a private party to purchase the 18-hole golf facility just west of Dell Rapids. DRG began shopping the Rocky Run to potential buys about a year ago.
As a courtesy, Pierson said, the board wanted to give the city an opportunity to make an offer.
“The majority of the shareholders of DRG (understand) the importance of the golf course to the community, and to be a long-term asset of the community, it would be much better as a municipal course,” Pierson said. “We don’t want to have someone look back and say ‘why didn’t the city buy it?’”
Pierson did not provide details about the offer, but said a sale is likely to happen within the next two months.
City administrator Justin Weiland said if DRG sells the course to a private party, nothing would prevent any new owner from closing the course and using the land for commercial, residential or agriculture development.
“I think it goes without saying that the golf course has an innate value to the community because of the future property tax value out in that area. The city has an interest in what goes on out there,” he said.
The council considered purchasing the course in 2012.
“We analyzed it as a whole, what it would be like if the city operated it based on whatever debt or type of loan we had to get to purchase it,” Weiland said. “We gave them an offer, and it was not what they were interested in.”
Though some figures might have changed since the first round of purchase discussions, it is still expected that operating costs would need to be supplemented with tax dollars if the city took control of the course.
“There’s a reason why it’s being sold,” Pierson said. “It’s not losing a bunch of money, but it isn’t making what it (once) was.”
Mayor Scott Fiegen said unless Rocky Run Golf Course could be run in the black, buying it might be a hard sell.
“We’d have a hard time justifying buying a golf course if it couldn’t pay for itself,” he said.
Councilor Mark Crisp agreed.
“I think it’s been looked at, and we made an offer that didn’t work. I’m not real hip on buying a dead horse that doesn’t pay for itself,” he said.
Fiegen directed councilors Dave Sommerveld, Gary Haak and Lee Burggraff to further investigate the plausibility of a municipally-run golf course.