Current weather

  • Overcast
  • 34°
    Overcast
  • Comment

Why Soldotna opted not to buy Birch Ridge

Posted: April 24, 2014 - 1:49pm  |  Updated: April 24, 2014 - 2:02pm

The Soldotna City Council decided against purchasing the Birch Ridge Golf Course.  

A resolution instructing City Manager Mark Dixson to negotiate an agreement for the purchase of the land and water rights failed 4 to 2, with Linda Murphy and Pete Sprague voting in favor. The purchase would have cost the city $800,000, Dixson said.

Birch Ridge 0wner Pat Cowan, and general manager Nolan Rose proposed a drafted lease to the council, in a joint session, prior to the regularly scheduled meeting, Wednesday, April 23.

The proposal contained language specifying that the city would hire Rose as the facilities operator once it had purchased the land. Rose would then have been responsible for all liabilities, leaving the city with no further financial responsibility.

Rose would only be able to sell the land as a golf course if he were to retire. The plan has been in the works for almost a year between Patrick and Myrna. Cowan, real estate agent Wes drown and Mark Dixson.

Rose said he would support whatever plans the council chose to pursue as long as it meant keeping the course open. However, he said, his proposition would be easier than the city buying the land and pursuing a lease.

“I think there is agreement from both sides, that’s not an advantageous way to go,” Rose said.

Cowan said he would personally back Rose financially, if Rose were to bid on the contract.

Dixson said the contract would not be competitive enough for other companies to make a bid for. The council would be entering into a sole-source deal if they agreed to pass the resolution, he said.  

Mayor Nels Anderson asked the audience twice if there was anyone who wanted to speak against the purchase.

“We’ve received unanimous emails in favor,”Anderson said. No one rose to speak against the resolution.

At the end of the joint session, community supporters of the purchase immediately flooded the council meeting room, filling it to capacity.

Paul Whitney, who voted against the resolution, said it was a tough decision for him as he knowsmany supporters and belongs to local organizations that supported the resolution.

The crowd left after the resolution failed. Only a handful of seats remained filled in the council chambers.

Cowan said he was disappointed in the vote and said it would be a few days before he would be able to decide how to proceed.

Murphy, who had introduced the resolution, and said it’s failure would be the “death knell for the golf course.” The council had passed the chance simply to look at what kind of contract would even be possible, she said.

 

Council member Keith Baxter urged Cowan and Rose to look into thed the possibility of a grant from the Rasmussen Foundation.

The foundation has contributed funding to the Sterling Community Center, Kenai Peninsula Community Care Center’s gymnasium and the Soldotna Teen Center.

Council Member Meggean Bos said one of her biggest concerns was whether Soldotna residents wanted the city to purchased the land. Once the resolution failed she asked the Cowans to consider harnessing the overwhelming community support and to form a co-operative ownership and keep the course open.

 “Just because this has been voted down doesn’t mean we’re not willing to work with you and see if there isn’t a solution out there that we haven’t looked at,” said Dixson, facing Cowan and a few supporters who remained until the end of the meeting.

Cowan stood and personally thanked the members of the council for their consideration.

“Whether you voted for in favor or not, it doesn’t matter,” he said.

  • Comment

Comments (8) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
nolanrose
7
Points
nolanrose 04/24/14 - 10:21 pm
0
3
Corrections & Amusments

Full disclosure, I was at the City Council Meeting and my name is Nolan Rose.

There are a number of things in this article that are inaccurate, but before we get to that I want to point out something that I find incredibly amusing.

"Council Member Meggean Bos said one of her biggest concerns was whether Soldotna residents wanted the city to purchased the land. Once the resolution failed she asked the Cowans to consider harnessing the overwhelming community support and to form a co-operative ownership and keep the course open."

So a big concern for Mrs. Bos was whether Soldotna residents wanted the city to purchase the land. That is true. She also asked the Cowan's to harness overwhelming community support to keep the course open.. That is true. That's entertaining.

The remainder of my comment will quote the article, followed by any necessary corrections.

"The proposal contained language specifying that the city would hire Rose as the facilities operator once it had purchased the land. Rose would then have been responsible for all liabilities, leaving the city with no further financial responsibility."

---This is inaccurate, the city couldn't hire me. The city would own the land, the Cowan's would own the business. At that point my intention would be to buy the business from the Cowan's. It is true that language in the lease would alleviate the city from any liability or future financial obligations.

"Rose would only be able to sell the land as a golf course if he were to retire. The plan has been in the works for almost a year between Patrick and Myrna. Cowan, real estate agent Wes drown and Mark Dixson."

---It is true that the operator would only be able to sell the business as a golf course, but not the land. The city would own the land.

"Rose said he would support whatever plans the council chose to pursue as long as it meant keeping the course open. However, he said, his proposition would be easier than the city buying the land and pursuing a lease."

---This is muddled... I said the resolution proposed was favorable because the city wouldn't own the business. Therefore, the city couldn't pursue leasing the business. The city would own the land and would be leasing the land to the operator. If the city owned the land and the business they would control the business lease, but they would also incur increased expenses and liability, something I believe wouldn't be in the best interest of the city.

"Cowan said he would personally back Rose financially, if Rose were to bid on the contract."

---This is inaccurate because in the resolution proposed the Cowan's would own the business. The city cannot put a business up for bid that it doesn't own. There wouldn't be a bidding process. Again, if the city were to purchase the land and the business they would be able to auction off the contract, but that's not the case here.

"Council member Keith Baxter urged Cowan and Rose to look into the the possibility of a grant from the Rasmuson Foundation."

---This is not entirely unguided because the Rasmuson Foundation does make special considerations, but the foundation seeks to support non-profits. Birch Ridge Golf Course is not a non-profit business. It is exceedingly unlikely that BRGC would receive this grant. Pursuit of a Rasmuson grant would need to come from the city or a third party non-profit.

I felt it was appropriate to correct these errors. Whether you are in favor of the city's involvement in ensuring the future of Birch Ridge Golf Course or not it is important to have access to correct information.

I am personally saddened by the council's decision. Private buyers have been sought by the Cowan's since 2006 to no avail. It is my fear that this decision was the death sentence for Birch Ridge Golf Course.

The resolution was to instruct the City Manager to arrange a purchase agreement with the Cowan's. Once an agreement was made the City Council would vote on finalizing the purchase. If an agreement couldn't be reached that the council favored they would have been able to vote it down at that time. This resolution was to create dialog, a discussion between the City and the Cowan's to purchase the golf course.

This council did not vote down purchasing the golf course.

This council voted down having the discussion.

Nolan Rose

Elephants Child
3
Points
Elephants Child 04/24/14 - 10:49 pm
1
2
The Clarion is misinformed again.

The Peninsula Clarion has a history of misinformed articles and this one is another example. The article states the proposal specifies “…that the city would hire Rose as the facilities operator once it had purchased the land.” That is simply not true. The proposal was that the city would buy the land and the golf course business would remain in private hands and lease the land from the city. The city would be in no position to hire a manager because the city wouldn’t have owned the business at all.

The next paragraph says, “Rose would only be able to sell the land as a golf course if he were to retire.” How could Rose sell the land at all, ever, any time? The whole issue was about the CITY buying the land. Even the title of the article lets you know the CITY decided not to buy the course. So how could Rose sell it had the city bought it?

Having made these glaring mistakes gives me pause when I read more of the article. I have to question the whole article’s authenticity. I wonder about the statement Meggean Bos allegedly said. To quote the article: “Council Member Meggean Bos said one of her biggest concerns was whether Soldotna residents wanted the city to purchased the land. Once the resolution failed she asked the Cowans to consider harnessing the overwhelming community support and to form a co-operative ownership and keep the course open.” I don’t think I could possibly be the only reader who sees a crazy contradiction of thinking here.

Did Meggean Bos really say this? Did she real ly worry about community support after the mayor said, “We’ve received unanimous emails in favor,” and “No one rose to speak against the resolution”? Either Meggean Bos wasn’t thinking clearly or this is more disregard for accurate reporting.

Could it be that the author interviewed grossly misinformed people after the city council meeting?

Suss
3911
Points
Suss 04/25/14 - 06:03 am
4
0
Resolution to discuss?

The resolution was to negotiate a sale/purchase. Discussing the options to sell can always continue. The obvious message is NO to the terms being brought by the sellers. Soldotna was correct in saying no. A well informed and capable realtor can do wonders when they have a client that is flexible and motivated.

Better terms, price and terms that must reflect current realities, not an appraisal that has not considered local market conditions for short golfing seasons. For an example of reality, no property owner is ever completely free from liability because the lessee has insurance.

The rather large cost of building a 25,000 sq. ft. "Palace on the Davis pit" is a competing budget item that might just be a factor for the NO vote.

Personally, I am proud of the way Soldotna dealt with the hard sell that they were given.

No one should ever be feeling forced to buy anything. There is way to repackage and present the sale to a willing buyer, when the seller is truly willing it just might not be the City that ends up buying. Try, try and try again.

To say that this was the "death sentence" for the golf course is overly dramatic.

Having lost at this attempt and posting sour grapes all over Facebook does not sit well with the public. That is not how one behaves after losing at golf.

Raoulduke
3055
Points
Raoulduke 04/25/14 - 04:02 am
2
1
Editing Responsibility

There is one certainty.The Clarion must do better editing before going to print.Which misinforms,and misleads their readers.Disinformation is the worst kind of information. Are not these council meetings recorded?

leewaytooo
1996
Points
leewaytooo 04/25/14 - 04:09 am
2
1
why is it that some people

why is it that some people only want government involvement

if it benefits themselves.... if the land in question has not

been sold in 8 yrs of trying, then there must be a reason??

could it be that the costs exceed the potential profits.

really....it is better that a miniature golf course.......although

not by much... lower your price........8yrs of no sale...

would indicate your price is too high.......it is just business,

not personal as repukes would say....

cheapersmokes
1037
Points
cheapersmokes 04/25/14 - 06:03 am
2
1
Birch Ridge Golf Course

For all of the people complaining about the reporting in the Clarion, you can write up and submit your articles if you can do it better. This whole issue needs much more thought and negotiation since it seemed like a one sided deal before. To place conditions on just how the property must remain is totally wrong. Why don't the owners back this Ross guy and let him make a lease payment monthly.

nolanrose
7
Points
nolanrose 04/25/14 - 07:19 am
0
3
Suss-

Posting countless negative rants on every Clarion article behind a hidden identity is the definition of a person with sour grapes...

I posted one critical comment on Facebook. That's hardly "all over facebook".. If one critical comment, a comment by the way that was directed at a specific person that I named, not the entire City Council or their decision, does not sit well with the "public".. I shutter to think what your reputation must be having complained about everything on this site for years..

Well, I guess your reputation is still good since you do all your dirty work behind a protective username. The public is impressed.

Nolan Rose

Suss
3911
Points
Suss 04/25/14 - 08:01 am
3
0
Nolan Rose

Was not aware of your post. Care to share? There just might be more than one Facebook posting that would involve the golf vote, forgive my confusion, I'll try to find your post.

Looks like a beautiful day to be golfing today. Be sure and use extra skin protection for those with especially sensitive skin. See you on the links.

Back to Top

Spotted

Please Note: You may have disabled JavaScript and/or CSS. Although this news content will be accessible, certain functionality is unavailable.

Skip to News

« back

next »

  • title http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321268/ http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321253/ http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321248/
  • title http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321243/ http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321208/ http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/320593/
  • title http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321173/ http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321163/
My Gallery

CONTACT US

  • 150 Trading Bay Rd, Kenai, AK 99611
  • Switchboard: 907-283-7551
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-283-3584
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-283-3299
  • Business Fax: 907-283-3299
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-335-1257
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback

ADVERTISING

SUBSCRIBER SERVICES

SOCIAL NETWORKING

MORRIS ALASKA NEWS