Will Dougherty County buy Radium Country Club? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Will Dougherty County buy Radium Country Club?

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December 3, 2007

Albany - Dougherty County Commissioners are considering buying Radium Springs Country Club, but they stress, they are not getting into the golf course business. The $990,000 purchase would be funded almost entirely by a state grant and would be used for green space, possibly as a park or recreation center, but is the price tag too large?

In it's prime, Radium Springs Country Club was a beautiful golf course with a club house for parties and events. But now, it's overgrown and an eyesore for the people who live nearby. "The biggest thing we're trying to do is to keep that particular part of property from becoming something that's a major nuisance to that neighborhood," said Chairman Jeff Sinyard.

Now owner Darrel Ealum is offering to sell the county all 217 acres, including the clubhouse, for $940,000. "It's an opportunity where we can leverage some of our green space acquisitions with some state money and through Governor Perdue's Georgia land conservation fund obtain a relatively free grant for the purchase of this property," said Woody Hicks.

The grant would pay for all but $50,000, which would go to the purchase of two separate lots that adjoin the club. The county has green space money in sales tax funds that could pay for those.

The floods of '94 and '98 essentially doomed this property from ever recovering to the golf course it once was. But there are a couple of things that are appealing to the county. For one, there's lots of wide open space complete with walking trails which used to be golf cart paths.

"With this acquisition," said Hicks, "it will give us almost seven miles of protected Flint River Corridor through the city of Albany which is pretty unique in the United State to have something that is this great a resource to the community," said Hicks.

But is almost a Million dollars too much to ask for land that could be devastated by a flood again? "I think $940,000 is too expensive for that property," said Sinyard. "To me, it's not worth that kind of money."

For now, the commission isn't locked into purchasing. They've only committed $500 in earnest money to begin the process of having an environmental assessment and appraisal performed. And if the state says no to the grant money, they'll scrap the idea altogether.

Commissioners plan to meet with people who live in Radium Springs to ask them how they would like to see the land used. They are also discussing ways to utilize the club house as an income generator to pay for maintenance of the property and avoid using tax dollars. The golf course has not been in operation for over a year.

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