Mixed-use park that would replace the Municipal Golf Course to be voted on Thursday

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Huntsville Municipal Golf Course

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – After weeks of intense debate, the Huntsville City Council is slated to vote on the future of the Municipal Golf Course Thursday night.  The City of Huntsville has laid out two options for the property, but WHNT News 19 has learned, Choice 2 – the mixed use park option – is the only option that will be voted on Thursday night.

At the last council work session, Councilman Mark Russell promised to write up both resolutions for both options, but Council President Robinson says none of the council members opted to sponsor the resolution reopening the golf course. Russell tells us, he wrote the resolution to reopen the course, but none of the members opted to sponsor it.

Robinson says a resolution to reopen the golf course can be added to the agenda Thursday night, but that would require an unanimous vote from all members, because it’s past the deadline for resolution submissions. However, she told us, it is unlikely that would have enough support to pass.

Here are the original options presented by the city:

Choice 1: Reopen the Course

Option one would reopen the course, but would require the City of Huntsville to spend more than half a million dollars to get to the level consultant Raven Golf deems appropriate.

“This is not in any way a redesign of the course, in any way what you would think of rebuilding the course itself, this is renovating the existing course,” says Hamilton.

That includes a proposed $1.5 million clubhouse.

The consultants believe with the right investments, the course could succeed.

“With appropriate management, with appropriate renovations, with maintaining the course at the quality we would all expect it to be, those numbers would go in another direction,” says Hamilton.

Choice 2: Redevelop the course into a mixed-use park 

Option two would be to replace the course with a mixed use park that consists of a golf driving range, cross country running track, walking trails, a mountain bike training facility, dog park and disc golf course.

“There’s almost 6 miles worth of existing cart paths, so you have the ability to have a variety of different walking trails if you use the existing cart paths,” says Hamilton.

Hamilton says the price tag would be about half of what the golf course would cost, but as Councilman Kling pointed out, wouldn’t generate any direct revenue.

Hamilton replied, while the mixed use park wouldn’t have any direct revenue like the course, tourist dollars would give a big boost.

“To fully answer your question, there would have to be estimates of lodging taxes that would be collected and sales taxes that would be collected,” he says.

Where the Council Members Stand

Councilman Mark Russell tells WHNT News 19, he’s for the mixed-use park option, and that’s why he’s sponsoring the resolution. Council President Jenny Robinson would not reveal which she supported, but told us, she’s “very intrigued” by the mixed use park option.

Councilman Bill Kling says he’s for a potential choice 3, that would incorporate elements of both proposals. He says he’s willing to submit a resolution working towards that goal, if necessary.

We tried calling Councilman Will Culver and Devyn Keith, but so far, they haven’t returned our calls.

WHNT News 19 has been following this story from the very beginning, and will keep you updated as we learn more.