Michigan Township Buys, Rescues Golf Course

Oceola Township in Michigan has completed its purchase of Chemung Hills Golf Club & Banquet Center. On December 27, the township Board of Trustees approved the acquisition of the former semiprivate club at a special meeting.

According to township supervisor Bill Bamber, the price tag for the 149-acre, 18-hole property was $650,000, with an additional $100,000 invested in maintenance equipment, supplies and a liquor license. Bamber said the township is now in negotiations to lease the club, which opened in 1923. The management company will handle the day-to-day operations, while the township will maintain ownership.

"We didn't want to deal with people who wanted to turn the land into housing developments or RV parks and campgrounds," Bamber told reporter Jason Carmel Davis of the Livingston Daily.

Officials hope to have a lease agreement in place within two weeks, as club events are planned for early 2011. The township will receive a percentage of the company's gross profits as part of the management deal, Bamber said.

The course went into receivership in September 2009 after its previous owner failed to pay a mortgage over a period of time. Brighton-based Osprey Recreational Properties, the court-appointed receiver of the property, has operated the course since that time, during which it's remained opened for play.

About five years ago, its then-owner sought to build a 700-space RV park on the property. The proposal also involved 107 cabins, a water park and softball diamonds. An earlier proposal to convert the land into a 300-home subdivision was denied by the township.