The Jacksonville Economic Development board meeting opened with public comments and Anthony Williams, President of Cherokee Ranch Golf Club, addressed the board, requesting partial funding for the purchase of the golf course and clubhouse.
“We have an opportunity to purchase the golf course and clubhouse, and have total control of it, for $1.9 million.”
Williams proposed two options, one which would be the purchase the entire property, including the golf course and clubhouse, and the other would be for the purchase of the golf course only.
His first proposal was for JEDCO to provide a grant of $300,000 and a loan for an additional $300,000 to allow for purchase of the whole property.
“Cherokee Ranch Golf Club would put up $250,000 and secure a loan for $1,050,00 and we own all of it.
The second proposal was a request of a $300,000 grant to assist with purchase of the golf course alone.
Williams said the country club was established in 1936, but closed as a country club in 2004. Since that time, it has had multiple owners.
“The current owner shut the place down in January of 2017 and with help from the city of Jacksonville, we were able to open it back up on a five-year-lease program,” he said.
He noted the 60 members and about 50 green fees a month in 2017 have grown to 170 members currently and around 6,000 green fees annually.
“Of that membership, 25% of them are from out of town, do not live in Jacksonville or Cherokee County. And our green fees, about 35% of those, are from people outside of Cherokee County,” he said.
Williams informed the board that the Cherokee Ranch Golf Club is home to the Jacksonville and Henderson ISD golf teams, as well as the Jacksonville College team, and each team hosts an annual tournament.
Reasons for JEDCO’s involvement were
Williams cited various reasons for JEDCO’s involvement including:
• The revenue brought to Jacksonville through the annual golf tournaments held for the schools’ golf teams;
• The attraction to businesses considering locating in Jacksonville; and
• The added quality of life the golf course provids.
Additionally, the Cherokee Ranch Golf Course employs 14 full-time and six part-time people.
Currently outside city limits, Williams stated annexation into Jacksonville would be a top priority.
If the Cherokee Ranch Golf Course does not choose to purchase the property by the end of their lease, the opportunity disappears, according to Williams, as the current owner is ready to list the property on the open market.
As the request by Williams was presented during the public comments portion of the meeting and was not an agenda item, the board did not discuss the matter in the open meeting.
The JEDCO board did approve the minutes of the previous meeting and monthly financial statements.
The board also received the president’s report. While No new matching grant requests were received, it was reported that two businesses recently taking up residence in downtown have produced receipts for reimbursement. Renovations for Neighbors Coffee are ongoing and the business has attracted a social media following.
In relation to the Downtown Redevelopment Program, it was stated that Sylvia Mae is in negotiations to purchase or lease a property in downtown Jacksonville.
An update on the downtown sidewalks project was presented by Robert Haberle. He stated SPI had heard back from Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation with a couple of comments that would be addressed. The engineering firm was still awaiting response from TXDOT, according to Haberle, but once their approval was received the company would be able to put the job out for bid.
“If we get TXDOT approval by next week, you’re looking at mid-November to start, to have it bid out and start,” Haberle said. “The unknown, the thing we can’t control, is TXDOT. But as soon as we get TXDOT clearance, we’re going to bid.”
A single item was approved by the board following executive session, authorizing the interim president to deed four acres of land, located next to the and fill, to the city of Jacksonville.