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Decision time nears for Grand Island

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February 28, 2008


Lee County --  The fairways of The Grand Island Golf course in Lee County may be worth more as shopping centers... apartment complexes... and houses.

That's why commissioners will decide whether to go forward with a study that will spell it out in dollars what the land is worth as a golf course, or retail and residential space.

Either way, both golf course operators and commissioners agree a decision needs to be made.

Time's up. In a letter to Lee County Commissioners, County Administrator Alan Ours says a policy position needs to be adopted by the Board of Commissioners for the Grand Island golf course.

Golf Course managers agree. "Not knowing one way or the other affects all of our employees, it affects my membership, it's a question that's asked daily of us," says Grand Island General Manager Vic McKinley.

A main talking point during the commissioners retreat earlier this month, they looked over a proposal by THK Associates which will do two things, evaluate the value of the land as a golf course versus redeveloping the course into commercial, single family homes or apartments or looking at the financial and value of the land for re-development. That's what many want to see, what's Grand Island worth as a golf course or as commercial development and condos.

"There's so many different numbers that roll around, you know you'll hear ballpark figures well you know if we can get a true value of what it is and what can be done with the land," said McKinley.

While three commissioners and County Administrator Alan Ours declined answering our questions until after tonight's meeting, a letter from THK Associates says land value is likely more if re-developed than if Grand Island remains a golf course. Gold Course managers say they've turned a corner, but won't make it without support.

"We've had our problems in the past, the prior years, there have definitely been some decisions that weren't wise decisions. We're trying to get where we need to be and make us fiscally responsible," says Vic McKinley.

If commissioners authorize the study the two different proposal by THK Association could cost the county either $19,300 or $29,000 for a more in depth study.

Tonight's meeting is at 6:00 at the Lee County Administration building.

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