City of Green considers purchasing Raintree Country Club

The city of Green is exploring a potential $3.3 million purchase of Raintree Country Club.

In late June, Green Mayor Gerard Neugebauer reached an agreement to acquire the Mayfair Road club, which includes 145.2 acres of land. The land features an 18-hole golf course, driving range, putting green and an 18,788-square-foot banquet facility.

Raintree Country Club is a public golf course, which opened in 1992. The course features four sets of tees for different skill levels. The country club advertises itself as one of the few in the area with a full practice area with driving range, chipping and putting greens and practice bunkers.

Neugebauer is expected to present legislation to City Council on Tuesday for the purchase. Officials the agreement is not binding, as City Council has sole authority to purchase land through its legislative process. The legislation is likely to go through three readings before it is voted on unless council decides to suspend the three-reading rule.

“We didn’t set out to purchase a golf course, but we are in a unique position as a city to acquire a large parcel of land to preserve green space,” Neugebauer said in a prepared statement. “By preserving the land, the community retains the ability to determine how it should be used in future years.”

During the Aug. 8 Parks and Recreation Board meeting, the board discussed the land acquisition and unanimously passed a motion of support for the purchase.

Neugebauer said the city had been watching the property as a developer had been eying both Raintree and Ohio Prestwick, which both have the same ownership, about a purchase. Plans had been submitted to the city’s planning department as the developer sought to maintain both golf courses and add health spa at Prestwick.

Neugebauer said he was supportive of that plan, but it fell apart. He said Raintree is a newer facility and Prestwick could use some upgrades. Neugebauer said Raintree is an important asset for the community and the city holds a lot of events there.

“My preference has always been to keep it green space,” Neugebauer said.

If the city doesn’t purchase the property, Neugebauer said he can “almost guarantee” a developer will purchase the property. He said it will be up to City Council, but he believes he got the best deal for the city.

The city is exploring the operating costs, maintenance and feasibility of maintaining the property. Green is also talking with other communities which run and maintain golf courses and talking with other golf course management companies to see if outsourcing the management would be a better option.

Akron, Hudson, Massillon, Stow and Twinsburg are some nearby cities which own golf courses.

Neugebauer said he would like to find someone to manage the property where the city could profit from it. He said the ideal situation would be to use the money generated to make improvements to the course.

If approved, funding would come from the General Fund to the Parks Capital Fund and be repaid to the General Fund over a five-year-period. The city said it does not intend to use money from the NEXUS settlement to pay for the purchase.

Green also has Chenoweth, Mayfair and Turkeyfoot Lake golf courses within city limits.

_______________________________________________________________

This story was also published in The Suburbanite. www.thesuburbanite.com