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Golf Course study put on hold

West Fargo City Commissioners voted Monday to table action on a feasibility study for a proposed golf course south of I-94 until other entities can be approached about sharing the bill for the study.

City Administrator Jim Brownlee told Commissioners that Westport Beach developers, represented by Jim Bullus, are willing to donate 360 acres of land located north of 52nd Avenue West for a golf course.

Brownlee said there are a lot of questions that would need to be answered before that was considered, regarding cost, maintenance and operation, how many rounds of golf would be expected to be played, as well as others.

He suggested that the City hire a consulting firm to conduct a feasibility study that would answer the pointed questions. A proposal for such a study had been received from HVS Golf Services, a Boulder, Colorado based firm, at a cost of $13,000, plus a cap of up to $3,000 on additional out-of-pocket expenses.

"This has been talked about for years. There are a lot of questions to be answered but I think it's a good idea to look at the possibilities," Mayor Rich Mattern stated.

Commissioner Brenda Warren said she was all for a golf course, but not at the City's expense, stating that as the fastest growing city, there is a long list of capital improvements that need to be addressed. "How can we justify spending this for a feasibility study? We just approved our budget, and not without sacrifices. It's $16,000 of taxpayers money and I think it's a waste. And what happens when they come back and say it's a great idea. We don't have the money."

Warren added that she had done her own research on a golf course and discovered it would cost $10 to $14 million for an 18-hole course and at least $385,000 a year for maintenance. "If the developers think it's such a great idea, let them foot the bill," she said.

The West Fargo Park District was mentioned as a possible lead source, but Warren said that she knows they are also operating on a tight budget and that their focus has been on a community swimming pool center, an idea she is in agreement with.

Brownlee said that he'd prefer that the City conduct the study and not the developers. "If it's ours we know it's independent." He said the study could be paid for out of money in the reserve fund.

The Commission voted to table action for two weeks to allow time for Brownlee to check with Westport Beach developers and the West Fargo Park District to see if there is any interest in sharing the cost of the feasibility study.

The Commission also heard an update on the 9th Street and I-94 project, where the surcharge project developed major dirt slides, one on the south and two on the north side. City officials have been in constant communication with North Dakota Department of Transportation officials who are presently working on a plan to correct the problem.

City officials are hoping this recent activity doesn't slow down action for the overpass construction. The next phase of the project was set to be bid next month but will now be delayed until January.

The Commission requested that DOT officials be contacted about attending the next Commission meeting in two weeks to provide additional information.

In other action, the Commission:

-approved a license agreement for the West Fargo Diversion repair project and an access agreement for the inert landfill site for the Southeast Cass Water Resource District;

-favored a request from Alltel to add a small 2-foot round antenna to their existing tower at 1201 Main Ave. W;

-granted Shayne and Rachel Munson, 609 9th Ave. W., an extension request to install an approach on their property, with the work required to be done by the Commission's first June meeting in 2008;

-adopted the Cass County Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan, following a presentation by West Fargo Police Captain Mike Reitan. The Commission is required to adopt the plan to be eligible for future FEMA hazard mitigation funding.

-following public hearings, approved a number of assessment districts: Sewer and Water Improvement District No. 1191, West River Addition/Borderud's Subdivision/Windsor Green Subdivision; Sewer and Water Improvement District No. 1196, Eagle Run 12th Addition, Phase II; Water Improvement District No. 1198, Doll's/Shiloh Subdivisions; Sewer and Water Improvement District No. 1199, Butler's 6th Addition; Sewer and Water Improvement District No. 1200, Goldenwood 3rd Addition; and Street Improvement District No. 2189, 9th St. E./32nd Ave.-40th Ave.;

-approved two Renaissance Zone projects, one to County 20 Storage and Transfer as purchaser of property in West Fargo for a new business venture and the second for Precision Finishes for a lease application. County 20 Storage has acquired property at the old Trail King site on 8th Street West. The paint and the sandblasting buildings will be used to house a new business named Precision Finishes, a company that will refinish new and used equipment for Precision Equipment and will do custom work throughout the community and region. The company estimates that approximately 40 percent of their work will be for outside companies. The business will create ten new jobs. County 20 Storage and Transfer also received a five year 100 percent property tax exemption;

-okayed a planned unit development amendment for American Welding Supplies, Inc. at 1655 Main Ave. E., so they can develop the lot with a welding supply business that would be a mix of service, retail, warehousing, as well as bulk gas. The property was previously a truck sales lot and has been sitting vacant;

-gave final plat approval and approved a land use plan amendment from public facilities to light industrial for Dalsin 2nd Addition. The property is located south of West Main Avenue, in the northeast corner of the intersection of 8th St. W. and 2nd Ave. W. Great Plains Tower is purchasing the property to expand an existing tower facility to accommodate their growth;

-approved a planned unit development amendment for residential condominiums at 203 14th Ave. W. This will be the second phase of construction on the Sheyenne Crossing development site and south of the existing facility. The project will consist of seven twin home structures and a total of 14 condominium units;

-okayed a conditional use permit for Donald Meyer for a detached garage in an agriculturally zoned district at 3917 9th Ave. W.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the West Fargo City Commission will take place at 5:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 29, in the Commission Chambers at West Fargo City Hall. All meetings are open to the public.