Ann Arbor Pushes Ahead With Plans To Privatize Huron Hills

The Ann Arbor Chronicle has a comprehensive report on the city’s plans to privatize the Huron Hills Golf Course—in spite of what appears to me to be pretty solid civic opposition. The overall call for a proposal sounds innocuous enough, but the idea of turning much of it into a driving range keeps surfacing.

The 18-hole, 116-acre golf course is located on the city’s east side and is split by Huron Parkway, with seven holes on the north and 11 holes to the south. Designed in 1922 by the golf architect Thomas Bendelow, Huron Hills is a 5,071-yard, par 67 course with a slope rating of 107, according to the RFP. The city’s ownership dates back to 1949, when the University of Michigan deeded the lower nine holes of Huron Hills Golf Club to the city – plus $10,000 – in exchange for Felch Park. The city bought an adjacent 57.5 acres in 1951.

The city is asking for proposals that “maximize the recreational golf opportunities” at Huron Hills. The RFP states that the city will retain ownership of the property and buildings, as well as any improvements that might be made. Beyond that, they are looking for proposals that follow four general principals:

A commitment to growing the game of golf.
Conduciveness to entry level golfers.
Accessibility and affordability of recreational golf opportunities, especially for children and seniors.
To better serve the Ann Arbor golf community.

I noticed that Chris Mile of the Miles of Golf pro shop and driving range was there. I have to wonder what he thinks about this. A new driving range so close to his own business surely would be a bad thing for him. Worse, the new driving range would in effect be city-subsidized, since there is no way a private group is going to pay actual market prices for use of the property.

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