“I can’t speak for the rest of the dommission, but I would support it,” he said.
Batemon said he believes the commission would support limited funding of a municipal golf course if Pell City officials can show the golf course could become self-sustaining.
“It is the only 18-hole golf course in the county,” he said.
The Pell City Council is considering taking over the Pine Harbor Golf and Racquet Club, which is currently a private club.
Current members of the club told the council the club cannot remain private because of the current economic climate.
Members of the City Council said the city could convert the private club into a public golf and racquet club without the help of the commission.
Batemon said the commission is not interested in securing a lease of the property or participating in the operation of the golf and racquet club, but could help the city in the early stages of converting the private club into a public one.
“I’m open-minded about assisting the city,” he said. “But this can’t be a long-term funding thing. … It shouldn’t be difficult to make it self-sufficient.”
He said the private club never had a large promotional budget and is struggling to make lease payments.
Batemon said the Pine Harbor Golf and Racquet Club has an annual shortfall of $70,000-$80,000 a year.
He said the club currently has about 110 private members.
Batemon said membership could triple if the club is open to the public.
He said the Pell City Parks and Recreation Department has some equipment to help maintain the club property, and the facility is already established.
He said the city could provide membership like it does for the civic center and/or charge one-time walk-in fees for visitors.
“The question is how much is it going to cost us?” Batemon said.
He said the St. Clair County Economic Development Council supports the idea of making the only 18-hole golf course in St. Clair County a public facility.
He said an 18-hole golf course could also help in the recruitment of new industries and businesses.
“It is a quality of life issue,” Batemon said. “The county will at least have one 18-hole golf course.”
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