It's tee-off time for plans to build 2nd golf course

September 27, 1994|By TaNoah V. Sterling | TaNoah V. Sterling,Sun Staff Writer

Some years and two administrations after it was first discussed, it appears the county will finally get another public golf course.

Yesterday, outgoing County Executive Robert R. Neall announced that Maryland Economic Development Corp. and Legg Mason Realty Group will develop the blueprint for an 18-hole public golf course off Fort Smallwood Road in Pasadena.

The plans will be available for public review in February. It will take 2 1/2 years to build the $6 million facility, which would be east of Water Oak Point Road.

"The enormous growth in the popularity of golf should make this project well-received by county residents," Mr. Neall said. "I am delighted we were able to develop another course with minimal public funding and without a long-term financial liability."

A feasibility study done by the U.S. Golf Association in 1990 documented the county's need for a second public golf course to augment the Dwight David Eisenhower Golf Course in Crownsville.

The study said 50,000 rounds of golf are played at Eisenhower each year, but the county needed to accommodate another 250,000 rounds annually.

The idea to build a course was hatched in the mid-1980s.

Then-County Councilman Edward C. "Buddy" Ahern, a Pasadena Democrat, sponsored a resolution in 1986 asking county government to consider buying the 157-acre former horse farm. He and state Sen. Philip C. Jimeno convinced then-County Executive O. James Lighthizer to include the golf course in his ambitious parks building plan.

Things looked good when the state gave $770,000 to the county under the Open Space program, designed to develop recreational facilities.

But in 1991, after the county bought the land for $1.75 million, the plan stalled.

When it became evident that the county didn't have the money to develop a golf course, Mr. Neall "challenged us to find private funding," said Jay Cuccia, Department of Recreation and Parks spokesman.

"The key to the success of this is that it doesn't require county funding," Mr. Cuccia said.

The county Parks Department and the North County Golf Advisory Committee chose the MEDCO/Legg Mason preliminary proposal over three other proposals. MEDCO will sell revenue bonds to cover construction costs. The county will lease the land to the developers for 30 years and earn an estimated $9 million.

At the end of the lease, the golf course will be turned over to the county for operation.

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