Council Passes Amended Golf Course Resolution, Step Closer to Calling for Development Proposals

Council voted 8-0, with amendment that new property must meet certain requirements.

DULUTH, Minn.- The Duluth City Council voted to pass a resolution that allows the potential sale of 50 acres of Lester Park Golf Course and 10 acres of Enger Park Golf Course to a developer to use for affordable housing.

The council passed the resolution 8-0, with Councilor Jay Fosley absent.

It comes with an amendment that any proposals for development of the land must be consistent with the city’s environmental and sustainability goals, and take traffic concerns into effect.

The resolution was no different than the plan the council voted on in May, but councilors said they wanted to make sure the whole council still supports the plan before issuing a call for development proposals.

“The city administration has the authority to issue a call for proposals,” said 2nd District Councilor Joel Sipress.

“We’re taking this extra step so again we have the chance to share with the public where we are in the process and to ensure that the city council remains in support of moving forward with the plan.”

The council also passed a first reading of the rezoning of the properties to make them eligible for sale.

Meanwhile the President of Friends of Duluth Public Golf said his group supports the resolution, but they want to keep all options on the table when moving forward.

“I think two big things we have to make sure that we bring into the conversation immediately are we need an advisory board,” Dan Baumgartner said. “A group that would include golfers, city officials, citizens to really think about this. And then maybe that group working on a master plan.”

City officials said they are working on making an advisory board which should be activated in early 2020.

The plan included that if sold, the revenue gained from the newly developed 50 acres at Lester Park will go towards maintaining Enger Park Golf Course, as both courses are struggling in $2.4 million in debt.

The council is staying strong in their decision to use the properties for housing and not commercial use, Sipress said.

Councilor Gary Anderson said at the meeting Monday that any developers must come up with something extremely creative to get all eight votes necessary to pass.

The council will be conducting a second reading of the zoning in two weeks.

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