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MNGL options developing

Options are emerging as the city continues to discuss Mississippi National Golf Links' future.

A study group composed of City Council members, staff and consultants from Schoenbauer Consulting and Springsted plans to present some preliminary findings before the end of the month.

The group has been gathering information for a council recommendation since May.

This week, local nonprofit Red Wing Municipal Golf Corporation announced it received a $200,000 anonymous matching donation. The group must raise another $200,000 to get the funds.

"We're pretty optimistic that people will want to help us out and take the opportunity to match that money," RWMGC president John Kjolhaug said.

City Council members had said one major concern with the group's five-year lease plan it proposed before the course was closed was the funding, especially for startup, repairs and maintenance. Kjolhaug said $400,000 could allay those worries.

MNGL is closed this summer with the exception of the driving range. The city is looking for a solution for coming years, and council members have said they want to make a decision in time for the next golf season.

Kjolhaug said RWMGC is working within the city's timeframe.

"We're going to move along as best as we can," he said.

He said the group's fundraising committee will meet in the next week or so to talk about how to bring in its $200,000 share.

Kjolhaug said the group is continuing to study its five-year lease proposal but also is looking at other options as well.

"I think the city wants us to look at some 'what-ifs,'" he said.

The city also is trying to gather other ideas and input from the public.

A meeting and open house city staff and council members said was aimed at gathering more public ideas and feedback drew people to the library Wednesday evening.

City officials also are encouraging conversation on the newly launched website forum, www.imagineredwing.com, and other citizen participation in the discussion.

The City Council has a workshop planned for Thursday June 27 at 6 p.m. in the library Foot Room to discuss a preliminary report from the study group and a July 17 workshop to go over a more final draft.

The city still is involved in litigation over the course lease with Wendell Pittenger as well. A summary judgment hearing is set for late October, and a trial date is scheduled for February.

Danielle Killey

Danielle Killey covers local government for the South Washington County Bulletin. She has worked as a reporter for other Forum Communications newspapers since 2011. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a journalism degree.

(651) 459-4629
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