Jacksonville golf course stirs city controversy

Golf is at the center of a hotly contested issue in Jacksonville. This after the city council voted this week to renew the Cherokee Golf Club's lease agreement for $50 thousand dollars. While supporters say this will bring in more people and tourist reven

JACKSONVILLE - Golf is at the center of a hotly contested issue in Jacksonville. This after the city council voted Tuesday to renew the Cherokee Ranch Golf Club's lease agreement for $50,000.

It's a game that's beloved by many.

"This is where we spent our childhood. We love the game of golf. We'd hit range balls on the driving range then we'd go swim. Then we'd walk two or three holes. It was just such a great time for us," said Anthony Williams, President of the Cherokee Ranch Golf Club.

According to Williams, the course has been around since 1936, but has been the center of controversy in Jacksonville for awhile.

In a vote of three to two, the city agreed to renew the golf club's lease agreement and operating expenses at a cost of around $50,000. The city also voted in 2016 to provide an upwards of $75,000 for operational and maintenance expenses.

City council members said the goal is to help it grow.

"Our ultimate goal is to continue to help those guys out there to where they can become self-sufficient to where the city at some point can be totally out," said Council Member Randy Gorsham.

He said the hope is to bring new people and revenue to the city.

"Young business people that are trying to move to Jacksonville. First thing they may ask is, okay is there a gold course? Or, what is there to do in Jacksonville? What can my kids do? If you say we have a great 18 hole golf course, it might attract them."

Other residents agree the course is an asset, but said the funds should be spent elsewhere.

"I think most citizens in Jacksonville disagree. We're not a wealthy city. We don't have a lot of extra resources and income and quite honestly, we have a lot of problems in the city that I feel could be addressed," said local Mike Killingsworth.

Killingsworth is not alone. A Facebook post that he wrote about the issue caused a stir on social media, with more than 80 shares and 42 responses.

But, at the end of the day, he says they can all agree that they just want the city to do well.

"But, I think everyone has good intentions and this is just the process," Killingsworth said. 

 

© 2017 KYTX-TV


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