The grass at Mulligans Golf and Games is nice and green as summer begins, but South Jordan City Council members are worried the city-subsidized property isn’t well enough into the financial green to remain open.
The council voted late Tuesday to hire The Boyer Co., based in Salt Lake City, as a development consultant to look at possible options for the 67-acre golf course on 10600 South by the Jordan River.
South Jordan spokesman Chip Dawson said Boyer beat two other firms for the job because its initial proposals best align with council hopes for the property.
"They want it to be a gathering place that would have elements of open space [and] green space," Dawson said. "They want elements retained, regardless of whatever the development is, that enables more people to use the space than the current pay-to-play paradigm" that currently exists with the golf course.
Boyer was hired to design different possibilities for the space, but a definitive decision has not been made to repurpose the property yet. It might even remain Mulligans after the evaluation, Dawson said.
If the property is revamped, it could have various mixed-use features. The council is considering pavilions, trails and commercial elements. However, council members have been "adamant" the property will not feature any kind of housing development.
Talk of doing away with Mulligans began with its worsening financial issues, according to the city.
Dawson said the golf course earned a $256,240 profit in 2013. But factoring in costs for bond payments, water, insurance and administrative fees, Mulligans actually lost $247,233 that year. In the past five years, the total debt has risen to what Dawson refers to as a "considerable loss" — more than $1 million.
Mayor David Alvord said the city had to act quickly on the Mulligans issue because the property was being considered as a possible new home of an expanded Hale Centre Theatre. But South Jordan recently lost the bid to Sandy, removing the pressure to do something soon.
"Now that Hale’s off the table, we can take our time with this and really make sure we’ve explored all our options," he said. "I do think, because it was a hotly contested area, that it’s a blessing that we won’t feel like we’re under any kind of rush to make a decision."
Alvord noted that Boyer has worked on three other retail projects in South Jordan, including The District and the South Jordan Towne Center. The council will share Boyer’s plans for potential changes to the property this fall or winter.
In the end, Alvord said, residents should decide this high-profile issue. "It’s their wallets that are going to have to either subsidize Mulligans or choose another route that could actually save them money in the long run."
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