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Should the city own a golf course?

Aug 23, 2018 05:33PM ● Published by Jana Klopsch

For three hours, individuals voiced concern over Glenmoor during a public comment session of a city council meeting. (Cassie Goff/City Journals)

By Cassie Goff | cassie@mycityjournals.com

More than 400 people flocked to Bingham High School’s auditorium to attend South Jordan’s City Council meeting on Aug. 7. South Jordan’s city council chambers were then filled on Aug. 21. The reason: Glenmoor Golf Course.  

(To learn more about the history leading up to this council meeting and related action, visit southjordanjournal.com and search for the article: Why the future of Glenmoor golf course is in jeopardy.)

A line of people ready to speak on this issue began forming up the auditorium’s isle way. Many were wearing blue T-shirts reading ”Save Glenmoor.”

All of the public comments heard that night urged the council to save the golf course. The majority of comments were in favor of placing a bonding question for Glenmoor Golf Course on the November 2018 Election Ballot.

Darci Olsen, a PGA professional working at Glenmoor, said, “I am a South Jordan resident, and I support my family based on the golf course. Glenmoor has history and is part of the community. The golf course has been thriving this year. I hope it can stay and continue to thrive.”

Throughout the night, many residents spoke about the work Olsen does at Glenmoor.

“On record, 160 to 200 kids come and go, in and out, of that course with the youth programs,” said resident Denise Larson. “Darci runs one of the best. There is a nonprofit that refunds the golf course for rounds played by the youth. Glenmoor is in the top five in the nation.”

Another PGA professional, Anna Fischer, spoke about the importance of the golf course.

“PGA uses that golf course for championships and youth,” she said. “We pay a green fee there. Many kids build livelihoods at Glenmoor Golf Course.”

Many residents also spoke about the importance of Glenmoor Golf Course for the youth population within the area.  

“There’s a young man that comes from West Jordan on his golf cart with his clubs in tow behind him,” said resident Joanne Smith. “I see him drive that golf cart from West Jordan across the old Bingham Highway just so he can go golfing.”

Resident Riley Anderson told a similar story.

“We met a kid on that golf course,” Anderson said. “He had the scrappiest clubs you could ever imagine. He had no dad, and his mom was an alcoholic. He lived on that golf course. I truly believe that golf course saved his life because it gave him a purpose.”

Resident Brad Benthom had more positive experience to share about the golf course.

“I have a more unique perspective,” he said. “I’m a retired coach from Bingham; 27 years as a golf coach. I saw futures form at that course. I’ve seen kids drag their bags in with their head down, and I’ve also seen them with their heads high. Just last week, I was at golf tryouts picking up my grandson who made the team. We have a wonderful community of kids.”

“I speak for many West Jordan residents,” said Johnny Wire. “We are also in support of saving this golf course. My son is standing behind me, not lacking in ambition or confidence. The benefits of Glenmoor run deeper than golf, beauty and open space. The youth learn lessons that will benefit them their entire lives.”

Johnny’s son, Jackson, said, “I’ve been playing on this golf course since I was 4 years old. It would be a tragedy if you were to take it down.”

One of the other main concerns threaded through many of the public comments was concern for the open space provided by the golf course.

“I bought a golf cart,” resident Greg Downs said. “I pile my grandkids on that golf cart, and we ride out over to Glenmoor. We saw seven foxes the other night: two big bucks, two pair of mating owls. Glenmore is sort of the central park for us. We want that green space.” 

Joe Johnson, a developer who owns the villas on the 18th Fairway, spoke directly to the councilmembers.

“In your lifetime, you will not see another golf course developed in the city,” he said. “Your predecessors were the founding fathers of Glenmoor. They left a legacy you have an opportunity to maintain and preserve. Preserving that golf course and its legacy will be felt for generations and generations.”

“My concern is for our city,” said resident Jackie Pace. “People have moved to South Jordan for a certain kind of living; part of that includes a golf course and open spaces. If we start stacking housing and apartments, one against the other, we are not going to be any different than any other city around us. Why should a city pay for a golf course? We pay for a lot of amenities in the city that we don’t use. I don’t have children going to school, but I pay all of those taxes willingly.”

For three hours, the South Jordan City Council listened to public comment. After the final resident wishing to speak was heard, two presentations were given: One was a Horrocks Report on a public engagement initiative about Glenmoor, and the other was a summary by Y2 Analytics about a survey they conducted regarding public opinion about Glenmoor.

The Horrocks Staff pulled information from 2,188 completed surveys with 1,300 submitted comments. Their final report was that the general obligation bond was the preferred option for residents.

The Y2 Analytics Report pulled information from just under 1,000 surveys. Results revealed that many people already thought the golf course was city or county owned.

A concern from councilmembers was using $40,000 of tax payer money to put this issue on the ballot, especially after representatives from Y2 Analytics concluded that the vote would fail.

On Aug. 21, the city council unanimously voted to put the issue on the ballot. Every elected official voiced support for keeping the golf course as is, though were skeptical of doing so through the currently proposed bond. Council and city staff are looking for alternate solutions. They plan to revisit the matter at the Sept. 4 city council meeting.

The issue of Glenmoor Golf Course is still ongoing. City Attorney Ryan Loose has been asked to negotiate for a lower price in order to take out a bond. There is also uncertainty about what happens with the ballot if a private buyer comes into the picture.  

For more information on this issue, visit: www.sjc.utah.gov/glenmoorgolfcourse/.

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