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Sale of 3-Acres to Improve SLC Golf Program

Mayor Ralph Becker has taken his first swing at selling a 3-acre chunk of the Rose Park Golf Course, perhaps to pave way for a charter-style Guadalupe School.

A public hearing on the sale is set for March 2. If the City Council agrees, the Mayor's Office signaled it will issue a bid request, though Guadalupe is currently the only party interested in the property.

Proceeds from the sale would go to the golf enterprise fund, which has $20 million worth of deferred maintenance projects, city officials note.

The three acres in question are on the southeast corner of the course at 1385 N. 1200 West.

Dave Terry, Director of the Salt Lake City golf program, has indicated that the change will have positive effects on the golf course and on the overall golf program.

“The only portion of the actual course that this property sale will affect is the 17th tee. We plan to turn that hole into a long par three, and lengthen the seventh hole to a par five by lengthening that tee,” Terry said.

“Par will remain the same and the holes will be improved. “The funds will also help us in other aspects of our golf operations,” he said.

“Specifically our intent is to improve the driving range at Rose Park.  But if selling open space becomes precedent, Councilman Luke Garrott warned it will be “frightening and very offensive” to open-space enthusiasts.

Councilman Soren Simonsen also worries a 38,000- square-foot school is inconsistent with the area’s multiple master plans. “It's going to raise conflicts,” he said Tuesday.

Simonsen also called for the bid process to be fair.  The city, he said, must avoid another Garfield School situation, where discussion with ultimate buyer Westminster College — prior to the bid — led to questions about transparency and fairness.

The half-dozen neighbors abutting the property have raised concerns, according to area Councilman Carlton Christensen. But the neighborhood overall, he said, has indicated “acceptance.”

Becker's Chief of Staff David Everitt said declaring the open-space surplus will not become a precedent.  Indeed, the city will pursue the purchase of nearby open-space land to offset the 3-acre loss.

As a charter school, Guadalupe is allowed under state law to locate in any municipal zone, including open space. Administration officials insist the open-space zoning will not be violated.

“Unless state law trumps it,” Garrott countered. “Therein lies the gap.”