The Herald Bulletin

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Editorials

June 3, 2014

Editorial: How far should Elwood go to save Cattails?

At the rate that Madison County golf courses are disappearing, they could make the endangered species list.

That might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it is understandable if golfers in the north and west sections of the county are beginning to feel that way.

Brockway Golf Course in Lapel has been closed for several years and more recently Yule Golf Course in Alexandria shut down.

Now Cattails Golf Course in Elwood has lost its back nine holes and golfers can legitimately wonder if the other nine can be far behind.

The city of Elwood doesn’t want the course to close and has taken steps to annex the property in hopes that the city could purchase the course from the owners and run it as a municipal course in much the same way that the city of Anderson runs Grandview Golf Course.

Elwood Mayor Ron Arnold admits he doesn’t know how much it will cost yearly to operate the course and how much revenue, direct or indirect, the course would bring to the city. The city has already paid the land owners $10,000 and the Elwood community development commission paid $5,000.

In order for the annexation to occur, landowners in that area must agree by a simple majority to the annexation. Mayor Arnold has said there is a slight majority in agreement currently.

The question is whether this is a prudent move for the city of Elwood. It is true that a golf course is a positive force in a community, often bringing people to an area that might not normally attract those visitors. It also increases the surrounding property value of home in its immediate vicinity.

But would the city be better served by trying to find a different owner for the course than to become an owner itself? The city could still gain the benefits of keeping the course open but without the liability for costs that are yet undetermined.

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