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Letter: Give golf group, MNGL a chance

I served on the 1984 Red Wing task force on whether to build a municipal golf course. After a lengthy study, an advisory referendum was held. It confirmed the community’s belief that a public golf course would be a recreational and economic asset to the community.  The City Council agreed and built Mississippi National Golf Course, which opened in 1986.

On Monday night, the current City Council will face the same decision.

An extensive study has been completed, with community input and economic analysis. The study determined that MNGL contributes to the local economy in a reduced role, but with sound management could be successful.

Visiting golfers/tourists have listed MNGL as their first choice among area courses in golf packages offered by Red Wing hotels. When Mississippi National was closed in 2013, former MNGC members took their golfing and money to courses outside of Red Wing. The total economic impact of the closing must also include the loss of revenue from visiting golfers/tourists who in previous years had shopped, eaten and bought gas in Red Wing. 

The Red Wing Municipal Golf Course Corporation, made up of local citizens, has submitted a proposal to the city to operate the course for the next five years.  In negotiations, RWMGC has addressed the city’s concerns, including:

• Placing a limit on the economic support required from the city for ongoing maintenance and capital outlay.

• Providing assurances that the proposal submitted is economically feasible and would limit the city’s financial risk.

In addition, RWMGC has pledged a goal of being self-sustaining in operational costs in five years.  The group also would work to reopen the cross-country ski trails and other winter activities, start up an Audubon Sanctuary Golf Program and work with other environmental and youth organizations to fully utilize this great resource.

As an alternative, the city faces the cost of continuing to mothball the course or the financial impact of closing Mississippi National, destroying the facilities and losing the community asset that had been built.

I believe that RWMGC has addressed the city’s economic concerns and should be given a chance to rebuild Mississippi National as an east gateway to Red Wing, so that once again it can be the economic and community asset that was established 30 years ago.