Brookville Town Council discusses golf course
At Brookville’s most recent Town Council meeting, Dave White spoke on behalf of Brook Hill Golf Course LLC. White said there were several things that he wanted to clear up.
“Social media has a lot of things wrong,” White said. “I think the town board and the citizens deserve to hear what happened.”
White said he would give a chronological account of what had taken place involving the Brook Hill Golf Course since August of 2018.
White said he was approached in 2018 about purchasing the land and said that he felt as though the golf course was important to the community. White said that there was overwhelming support from the Franklin County Commissioners, and school corporation to proceed in plans to preserve the course.
White said at the time the family that had owned the course had wanted to sell the course by a certain timeframe, and though the Town of Brookville had expressed interest in course they would not be able to act in a timely enough manner to meet the timeframe from which the owning family had wanted to sell by.
By December of 2018 a group of individuals, that would become Brook Hill Golf Course LLC., agreed to purchase the course with the intentions of holding the course and transferring the course to the town when details could be agreed upon.
In January Brook Hill Golf Course LLC was formed and in November of 2019 the transfer was completed to Brook Hill LLC. The golf course was purchased for $1.1 million, and later sold from the LLC to the town for $1 million.
“We knew that was not a good business decision,” White said. “We felt that because the community, (…) we are a transitive community, people live here and work other places, we realized that it was important to maintain this golf course.”
White said that at times where people had been confrontational about the process, and said they did not expect the course to be as controversial of a topic as it ended up being within the community.
“We did not anticipate the controversy that would follow with the transfer of ownership to the town,” White said. “And the division it would create in our community. Two specific issues that left us concerned that political whims may leave our original goal in jeopardy. First, the reluctance of the past town board or the time involved in finalizing the thing left us concerned whether their original goals to keep it for the community had wavered. Also during the last elections, we’re not sure of the long-term intentions of the new town board as an LLC. We just want to tell you that we sold it with the intentions to keep it a golf course and we hope the town has those same intentions. If it’s not the intentions of this or future town boards to operate it as a golf course, we’re prepared to buy it back.”
White asked for transparency, and a long-term commitment to operate the course.
After finishing his statement, Town Council member Chuck Campbell asked White and fellow council members if it was designated in the agreement that the course had to be used as a golf course. Council President Bridget Hayes said the agreement said the land had to be used as either a golf course or as a green space for 10 years.
White said he understood that the rumors are quick to get started on social media, and as such wanted to reiterate on behalf of Brook Hill Golf Course LLC that they sold the course, at a loss, to the council with the intention of keeping it as a golf course.
Hayes said she appreciated the LLC, and agreed that information presented on social media was widely incorrect.
“I do agree that there has been a lot of information on social media that has been wrong,” Hayes said. “I think that was because there was a lack of transparency, in my opinion.”
Hayes apologized saying that the purchase of equipment that was on the property had caused controversy in the public because it wasn’t disclosed to the public what the purpose of the equipment was. Hayes would not however; commit to the long-term future of the course.
“In terms of a long-term commitment from me, I’m sorry I cannot give that to you,” Hayes said. “I’m going to govern as things come to me and make decisions based off that. I like the golf course, I’m glad it’s there and I’m glad we have it. My biggest concern right now is that we don’t have the financials from the first year that we’ve run it. When the purchase was made, the public was told that it made money, but we weren’t told anything specific.”
Hayes said those numbers would likely be in by the end of the month. That would help in determining a future plan.
Hayes said she would make herself available for discussions about this and other topics in the future. White said he wanted to speak at the meeting also for the sake of transparency.
Board member Curtis Ward said it would also be helpful to have the LLC to present the original financials from their time in control of the course, so they have the information as a baseline for decision-making. Ward said he agreed with Hayes about not being able to make a decision about the course’s future until there was data coming in about the financial stability.
White said he, and the LLC would be willing to cooperate with the town council.
“We will continue to be cooperative,” White said. “We want this to be a success for, not necessarily the town board, (but) the community. Anything that we can do to help the community and help the town board serve the community better, we’re all for that.”