Building a golf course at Fort Sheridan is the present intent of the Lake County Forest Board. On November 1, 2011 they will publish a request for prospective golf course operators to submit proposals to design, build and operate a 9-hole golf course at Fort Sheridan.
You can download the Fort Sheridan Request For Proposal here. (PDF document to download).
Although 10 Forest Board commissioners voted to not take this next step, 12 voted to prepare the request for a golf course proposal. And of those 12, 3 actually are against developing the golf course! What’s going on here?
Quite simply the Lake County Forest Board has decided it is politically expedient. Perhaps it will strengthen their position if a legal objection is raised. Perhaps it will facilitate the final negotiation to remove the deed restriction. In our view it is a wussy approach. Rather than lead, they have succumbed. It’s disappointing. It’s cowardly. It’s par for the course – pun intended. The Forest Board is in a strong position and 10 Commissioners agree. Instead we continue to kick the can down the road. One wonders if it will be a 2012 campaign issue? Or a referendum?
But here’s the good news: They’ve created this ridiculously onerous set of requirements for building and operating the proposed 9-hole golf course. The requirements are in place to protect you and me from the absolutely certain financial failure of this enterprise. The golf course proposer will hold the bag. And it is a very big bag of investments. Only through philanthropy or idiocy will someone step forward to bid on this project.
According to Lake County’s consultant who helped them assemble the request for a bid, if you are a prospective golf course developer, you can find a huge list of failing golf courses for sale at prices of 20 cents on the dollar. And you can probably buy one of these failing courses without a government agency issuing outrageous business requirements. Nor would you have a large segment of the public hating your destruction of the open land they have been enjoying public access to for the past couple years. If you were a golf course developer, which would you choose – a free and clear ownership title in a community that wants your golf course? Or the painfully conflicted Fort Sheridan?
On Wednesday, November 16 at 10 AM there will be a proposer meeting on-site at Fort Sheridan. It’ll be great theater to show up and see what idiots think they’re going to build and operate a profitable golf course here. Conceivably, it will be a party of none.
See you there!