City searching for MNGL solutionThe Red Wing City Council is looking for a “bridge” that would keep Mississippi National Golf Links open for summer golfing while searching for a long-term solution.
By: Danielle Killey, The Republican Eagle
The Red Wing City Council is looking for a “bridge” that would keep Mississippi National Golf Links open for summer golfing while searching for a long-term solution.
The council agreed Monday to terminate officially the lease with former operator Wendell Pittenger, who closed the course last fall, and is looking ahead for a resolution to Mississippi National’s future.
New Council President Lisa Bayely said the council’s golf course committee has been discussing the issue at length and the best option for summer golfing likely is working with local nonprofit Red Wing Municipal Golf Corporation on a one-year basis.
“We’re really trying to be creative here and look at keeping it open this summer,” she said of MNGL.
The proposal RWMGC presented to the city was a five-year plan to lease and run the course, but Bayley said she’d like to look at a short-term option while the course’s future is discussed and the city can get outside input on the group’s plan.
The council agreed Monday to give the city’s golf course committee authority to look for at least two outside analysts to look at RWMGC’s proposal and the course’s budget.
City Council members also approved a contract with former course superintendent Randy Juliar to maintain Mississippi National for the next three months. The contract estimates costs of about $14,000 per month.
But questions still surrounding the course are making future decisions difficult.
The city currently is involved in litigation with Pittenger, and mediation is scheduled for mid-February.
There are also questions of where money will come from to run the course, and a further wrinkle appeared Monday. Bayley said the council found out earlier that day Pittenger has left $31,000 in taxes unpaid for last year, which will be owed on top of about $50,000 in taxes for 2013.
All the equipment at the course also has been sold or removed, so anything needed would have to be purchased or leased, and bond money owed to Associated Bank also remains unpaid.
Bayley said within the next six weeks or so the council hopes to have a plan for the 2013 golf season, then will have a longer process to look at the “bigger picture” of Mississippi National’s future.
Mayor Dennis Egan said the council needs to keep in mind other proposals and ideas for the course, such as from groups who want to expand recreational activities there.
“We may only have one shot at doing this,” he said, emphasizing the need to create a solid long-term plan.
“I think the whole community needs to be involved in this, because it is a big community asset,” Council member Peggy Rehder said. She noted people have come forward with creative ideas for the course and land and said she wants to keep that involvement going. “I sit very much in the position of wanting to have a one-year fix while the community discussion is continued.”