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The Evergreen property acquisition in Baytown


Good Evening Bert,
Let me see if I can shed some light on the progress of the Evergreen property acquisition. 
The original intent was to stay away from the City owning any golf facility simply due to the fact that there is only a very small profit margin or hope to break even on a municipal golf course.  But as luck would turn out, both the Goose Creek Country Club and the Evergreen Golf Course landed on the front door of City Hall, both on the same day.  The first of which was Goose Creek CC whose board members have been trying to get the City to purchase and take over that operations.  This was not going to be considered and the City could not make an investment in that endeavor as it was an unknown.  Unknown to the fact that we knew that other municipal golf courses has to be subsidized by the municipality.  Good example of that is Eagle Point, La Porte and Pasadena courses.  Each of those cities has to subsidize their facilities to keep them a float.  That was something we were not quite prepared to do. 
Then when Evergreen Golf Course was presented to the City, we all knew that we had to pull back on the reins and think about this.  If we let both of these courses go by the way side, the City of Baytown would be the largest municipality in the state without a golf facility.  So before we jumped out there, Council and City Management wanted hard facts about the possibility of one of the two golf facilities becoming a municipal facility and thus an added asset for the City of Baytown.  The City hired a research group to look at the two courses and return a report about the strengths of the two sites and projected success/failure likelihood.  The report returned to the City in a since stated that Goose Creek CC would not be successful and would take a lot of revenue to keep it active.  Evergreen Golf Course on the other hand would be a success and due to the location and future plans around that facility, stated that it would not only break even with the right amount of investment, but could possibly turn some revenue back to the City.  Not in large amounts, but the potential of success was there.
After receiving the report, Council and City Management took the consideration of purchasing the Evergreen facility with the help of the residential developer, who by the way did not want the golf portion for the residential development.  Long story short, the developer made a proposal for the residential development to include a newly revise and revamped golf course.  The only items that were to stay intact was the club house/grill, driving range, putting green and all the fairways/holes around the original residential addition already in place.  Every thing else was going to be revise or new.  As agreed with the developer, the City was going to make the initial investment and the developer was going to purchase back from the City any property it needed to develop the residential portions.  The City was gong to pay for the new design and instillation of the golf course. 

The estimated investment was to the tune of $12mm.  Council could have passed an ordinance to get that going but Council wanted the Citizens of Baytown to weigh in on the matter and thus we offered a bond program for vote by the Citizens.  As you know that vote barely failed.  I believe this was due to the water meter impact issues and the disgruntled Goose Creek CC Citizens.  Be that as it may, it was no longer viable due to the voice of the Citizens.
As time progressed, another offer was presented to the City to purchase a portion of the property and this was considered by Council and City Management.  We all agree that we could purchase this property and had the authority to do so.  Also agree was to honor the will of the vote and not purchase the property only to put a golf course back in.  This certainly would not set well with the Citizens and Council never attempted to do that.  Instead the property was acquired due to the fact that we could later develop the land into something useful and we do want to do something to the south end of Baytown. 

Therefore the property was acquired with the intent to develop it into something useful for the public to use.  So present plans are to use as open space with walking and bike and trails through the property.  The City also negotiated with Union Pacific to be able to acquire the rail road bridge (across Hwy 146) and track property that goes west from the northern end of the Evergreen course.  The City intends to make this part of the concrete walk/bike trail into the internal part of the city and tie into the north east corner of the Evergreen property.  In addition, the Goose Creek ISD discuss the need to keep their golf programs alive and therefore the driving range and putting greens will remain open in order to keep the high school golf teams practicing. 
So in a nut shell, that is how we arrived at what we have today. 
Hope this will do and if you need more information, there certainly is more I can give you.  The main thing to understand is that the City was very open with the vote, the future plans of the bond project was not properly vetted through the community and what the future site was to become.  Therefore the Citizens voted it down.  Council and City Management fully respected the vote and will of the people.
Thank you,
Bob Hoskins
District 5 councilman

Comments

Anonymous said…
David Clark: Bottom line, citizens voted against it and the city bought it anyway!
Anonymous said…
Hillco: A couple things stand out.

The developer understandably never wanted the property the city purchased which is most of the golf course.

The potential sale of Evergreen was known before GCC was sold..

That is new information.
Warren Fitts said…
Bert, as I told you before I wrote to City Officials with a plan if the bought it and made it disabled Veteran and Citizen friendly course, and a Special Olympics friendly, made it a place for elderly and opened for all schools to have golf athletic opportunity and for all residents to have access to, along with visitors center for meetings etc and offer certain time frames that area Veterans organizations, Law Enforcement , Fire Fighters & EMT's etc could raise funds via Golf ...like Ted Hazelwood let us at VVA do and other organizations did... That said I think like you said if more facts would have hit voters plus show ways proceeds could pay towards course and facility... Also Baytown would see sales in City for many items from travelers to course from fuel to food... As a Disabled Vet like many others its nice to get out in outdoors even if you cannot be the best golfer, its good for elders who are shut in old folks homes to get out maybe not to golf but get out and see some outdoors again, and kids with special needs to get out and do some putting or build self confidents walking the course and list goes on and on... School kids need all sports to build them and them outdoors... Oh well, just my views and I really think the whole 18 holes course would have been a great asset not a ass ache if it was managed by right people and all organizations in city could have put forward ideas ... Later. Ren

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