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"As more and more of Utah gets paved over and more green space gets taken up, the Jordan River is more important than ever. Any area around that should be a shrine. It’s sacred ground," Tobias said.
Alvord said any decision about the golf course is months away — and "would come out of a long public process." He favored development of the golf course during his campaign.
The consultant’s report, completed last May, but only released Wednesday after formal acceptance by the council, clearly favors development of the golf course.
"The development of the 67-acre Mulligans site represents a significant opportunity for the City of South Jordan to realize an effective contribution to community connectivity, economic vitality and development diversity," ForestCity Enterprises said in its report.
"The Mulligans site has the potential to do extremely well in the retail market. Our findings show that the South Jordan market is capable of supporting higher-end services and retail."
ForestCity’s analysis talks about a balanced approach to development that incorporates open space and holds the potential to become "a model of sustainability."
One strong argument for closing Mulligans and developing the land is the cost to the city of owning and operating a golf course that is unpopular and a money drain, said Newton.
It regularly loses $5,000 to $8,000 annually, he said.
However, city financial data posted on the state’s transparent.utah.gov website indicates the golf course in recent years turned a profit more often than not.
Newton, though, said that operating profit does not reflect the city’s bond-payment obligation.
Also, Newton said the city did a survey early last year showing that 56 percent of respondents would support doing something else with the Mulligans property.
The golf course is not very good, he said, adding that he usually golfs at Fore Lakes in Taylorsville and that the South Jordan Chamber holds its luncheons and golf tournaments in Sandy.
South Jordan spokesman Chip Dawson said the consultant’s study is "food for thought" and a good way to start a community discussion.
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