ALBERTVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) -- The future of Albertville's golf course is in doubt.
Members of the Albertville Golf and Country Club are trying to keep the links open, but the club's debt on a pair of mortgages is more than $1 million and they must pay by March 15.
Albertville City Council President Nathan Broadhurst said the first mortgage is with Wells Fargo for about $367,000, and the second is with Regions Bank for about $740,000.
"They have been under judgment for at least the last year on their debts," Broadhurst said.
"They have not been paying on it for two years, and the only reason the banks have not forced foreclosure is because they did not want to take over maintenance of a 10-plus acre golf course," he said.
Vantage Group, based in Fyffe, will take control of the property if the Club does not pay what is owed by March 15, and Broadhurst said some golfers and others who lived in the area are concerned about the likely takeover.
"Vantage is involved in a lot of of different types of real estate ventures," Broadhurst said.
"A substantial part of their business is federal housing. Apartments complexes and single-family dwellings. There's obviously some concern and fear of residents of what might be the end result of [Vantage Group] having an ownership position in the course."
He said Vantage had some communication with the city council and gave no indications they want to change the course, and he suspects Vantage will try to sell it later for a profit.
People from the club approached the Albertville City Council about paying the debt and buying the course, but Broadhurst said the council determined it to be too risky a venture.
The Albertville Parks and Recreation director looked into other municipal courses in the area and they also consulted a parks and recreation director from Douglasville, Georgia.
"Both made it very clear that it was very unlikely for the city to be able to be profitable on it that more than likely we would be in a position that we would be subsidizing the course and if we made the decision to buy it it would be purely from a quality of life standpoint."
Broadhurst said the quality of the course is so poor it would need a lot more funding.
"It needs greens rebuilt. It needs the parking lot and road access to it needs to be updated. Some of the other parts of the facility need to be upgraded so there's a lot of investment that will need to be done even after you make the purchase of it," he said.
Still, it is important to the members, some of whom are organizing their own investment group to try and buy it themselves, led by former state representative Frank McDaniel.
Broadhurst said Albertville city officials hope the golf course will remain, and they plan to work with McDaniel's group--should they buy the course--to create a type of municipal corporation with council member Ben McGowan on the board.
"That would allow it to operate as a city board with the tax advantages of not having to pay property taxes and sales taxes which gives them a little bit financial position as well but doesn't require the city to be directly engaged financially in it," Broadhurst said.