Parks group backs city buy­ing golf course

Ger­man­town Coun­try Club cov­ers 180 acres A Ten­nessee clinic swin­dled the mil­i­tary out of $65M by writ­ing medic­i­nal cream pre­scrip­tions for sol­diers. This is how it got caught.

The Commercial Appeal - - Front Page - Corinne S Kennedy Memphis Com­mer­cial Ap­peal USA TO­DAY NET­WORK - TEN­NESSEE Brett Kel­man

As the city of Ger­man­town ex­plores whether to pur­chase the Ger­man­town Coun­try Club af­ter it closes later this month, at least one ad­vi­sory panel has shown strong sup­port for the idea.

At an in­for­mal Satur­day morn­ing meet­ing, al­most all mem­bers of the parks and re­cre­ation mas­ter plan steer­ing com­mit­tee said they thought it would be a good idea for the city to try to ac­quire the al­most 180 acres of land bor­dered by Kim­brough Road and Farm­ing­ton and Wolf River boule­vards. How­ever, they were not of one mind about the best way to use the land.

Ger­man­town Parks Di­rec­tor Pam Beasley said the com­mit­tee, which had spent months work­ing on the parks mas­ter plan that was adopted by the board of mayor and al­der­men last year, was re­con­vened specif­i­cally to ex­am­ine the fea­si­bil­ity of the city pur­chas­ing the golf course.

Beasley said the com­mit­tee — sep­a­rate from the city’s stand­ing parks and re­cre­ation com­mit­tee — would also see if the mas­sive prop­erty fit into the goals and needs iden­ti­fied in the mas­ter plan.

When the plan had been drafted, she CATHE­DRAL CITY, Calif. – Bill Sch­neid stood in his home of­fice, hold­ing a pack­age of skin cream worth more than gold. He didn’t know ex­actly what he had stum­bled on, but he was pretty sure it was il­le­gal. It was March 2015. A few weeks be­fore, Sch­neid, 72, a cur­mud­geonly pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tor, had been snoop­ing around South­ern Cal­i­for­nia mil­i­tary bases when a Marine he knew men­tioned he had a strange source of side in­come. chicken, car­rots, peas, pearl onions and a flaky pas­try crust.

The Pe­abody Lobby Bar and Cor­ner Bar will cel­e­brate the an­niver­sary with a sig­na­ture craft cock­tail, “The John Collins.”

A spin on the clas­sic Tom Collins, which was cre­ated the same decade as Daily $2.00

said the group had strug­gled to iden­tify land within the city that could be made into parks in the fu­ture and did not know that the golf club land would be a po­ten­tial op­tion for the city.

“We do need to ac­quire ad­di­tional land so our park sys­tem could ex­pand,” Beasley said.

Af­ter a brief re­view of the mas­ter plan, com­mit­tee mem­bers went around the room with neon-colored stick­ers, plac­ing them next to ideas and con­cepts they supported on large posters pro­vided by Lose and As­so­ci­ates, a con­sul­tant that had helped write the mas­ter plan.

Only one com­mis­sioner did not put their sticker in the “yes” box on the poster ask­ing whether pur­chas­ing the prop­erty for some pub­lic use was a good idea. Another board pre­sented var­i­ous uses--from disc golf to dog park to eques­trian fa­cil­i­ties--for a po­ten­tial pub­lic space. Open space, trails and green­ways, multi-pur­pose sports fields and out­door din­ing and so­cial­iz­ing ar­eas re­ceived the most sticker votes.

Com­mis­sion­ers also dis­cussed four po­ten­tial “sce­nar­ios” for the golf club prop­erty — although city of­fi­cials and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Lose and As­so­ci­ates re­minded com­mis­sion­ers and pub­lic at­ten­dees that they were not mak­ing a plan for the prop­erty, merely look­ing at which op­tions had sup­port or met goals set out in the parks mas­ter plan.

Nine com­mis­sion­ers supported the “pas­sive park” op­tion, which would pri­mar­ily pro­vide open green space for wildlife with the pos­si­bil­ity of a na­ture cen­ter, dog park or pic­nic ar­eas on a small por­tion of the prop­erty.

Six supported the idea of an “ac­tive park,” which could fea­ture sports fields, ten­nis courts, walk­ing trails and play­ground ar­eas, while five put stick­ers on the “hy­brid de­vel­op­ment” board, which was de­scribed as 90 to 100 acres of open space, with the rest of the prop­erty de­vel­oped into res­i­den­tial or com­mer­cial space (which would re­quire a zon­ing change--some­thing the mayor has said he adamantly op­poses).

Only two people put stick­ers on the “pas­sive park and golf op­er­a­tion” board, which pre­sented the idea of keep­ing nine holes of golf as a pub­lic course and us­ing the rest of the prop­erty as open park space.

Satur­day’s meet­ing did not in­clude a dis­cus­sion of the cost of pur­chas­ing the prop­erty. How­ever, sev­eral mem­bers of the com­mit­tee pointed out that pur­chas­ing more park space would mean higher main­te­nance costs for the city.

Pub­lic com­ment was not al­lowed at Satur­day’s meet­ing, but Beasley said 176 people sub­mit­ted com­ments on­line about whether or not the city should pur­chase the prop­erty. Nine people said the city should not pur­chase the prop­erty and 11 of­fered am­bigu­ous state­ments such as “good luck,” but did not in­di­cate whether they thought the city should or should not pur­chase the course.

The re­main­ing 156 people said they supported the city pur­chas­ing the golf course, ac­cord­ing to Beasley.

A sum­mary of Satur­day’s dis­cus­sion will be made pub­lic and will con­trib­ute to fu­ture dis­cus­sions by the city’s stand­ing parks and re­cre­ation com­mit­tee about whether the city should pur­chase the golf club. That com­mit­tee will make a re­comen­da­tion to the board of mayor and al­der­men, which will make a fi­nal de­ci­sion.

Ger­man­town Coun­try Club own­ers an­nounced the club’s closing for fi­nan­cial rea­sons in a let­ter to mem­bers in early Jan­uary, prompt­ing city of­fi­cials, pri­vate de­vel­op­ers and a group of club mem­bers to con­sider pur­chas­ing it for var­i­ous uses.

Un­der cur­rent zon­ing re­stric­tions, the prop­erty could be de­vel­oped into sin­gle fam­ily homes on large lots. It could also re­main as a golf course un­der new own­er­ship or be trans­formed into a park. A large swath of the prop­erty is in a flood­plain, ac­cord­ing to the Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment As­so­ci­a­tion, com­pli­cat­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of fu­ture de­vel­op­ment.

Ger­man­town Coun­try Club will close Feb. 28.

Corinne Kennedy cov­ers Ger­man­town for the Com­mer­cial Ap­peal. She can be reached at [email protected]­mer­cialap­peal.com or on Twit­ter @Corin­neskennedy

USA TO­DAY NET­WORK - TEN­NESSEE

Ger­man­town Coun­try Club is closing soon. BRAD VEST/THE COM­MER­CIAL AP­PEAL

BRAD VEST

Ger­man­town Coun­try Club is closing Feb. 28, but a group of mem­bers is try­ing to pur­chase it.

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