Friday's news of the completed sale of Plantation Golf Course to developer Will Gustafson came with short-term reassurances from the new owner about the future of Garden City's largest piece of green space.
What's not to like about an improved clubhouse, better irrigation and other amenities? But how can improvements be made without sacrificing part of Plantation to bankroll it all?
Common sense says it can't happen.
And that's why the Save Plantation Coalition will continue to advocate for Garden City to pass an Open Land ordinance to maintain open space for wildlife, for flood protection and for the historical legacy of Southern Idaho's oldest golf course.
“We don’t have any plans," Gustafson told the Statesman, which seems like an odd thing to say after spending several million dollars.
“We know that the golf course cannot continue to operate the way that it is because the patient will bleed out on the operating table,” Gustafson told BoiseDev.com.
In the Statesman article, Gustafson says commercial development along State Street could happen, but the course could be reconfigured to remain an 18-hole setup.
"And he said he doesn’t have any plans yet for such development," the story reports.
Except for the fact that he told three of our members in a November meeting that developing the State Street frontage was his priority in the acquisition.
The Statesman also notes Gustafson's poor record with golf course developments.
"Gustafson’s previous projects in Sparks, Nevada, and Chula Vista, California, caused hard feelings," the paper reported. "D’Andrea Golf Course in Sparks closed in 2012 following years of financial losses and accusations of mismanagement, the Reno Gazette Journal reported. In Chula Vista, Synergy bought a foreclosed course that operated for five years before filing for bankruptcy in 2011. Bad market conditions caused problems for both courses, Gustafson said."
In announcing the sale's completion, the new owner and his team say they want to talk about the future of the course with stakeholders, and we welcome the dialogue, which probably should have occurred months ago. But given the stated plans to develop and reconfigure Plantation and Mr. Gustafson's poor history with similar ventures, we will also continue to be skeptical.
Accordingly, our No. 1 priority will be to Keep Garden City Green. Thanks for your ongoing support.
Save Plantation Coalition