Developers are apparently desperate to get their hands on the historic Rackham Golf course, a Donald Ross design next to the Detroit Zoo. The developers, Premium Golf, LLC have raised by $1 million (to $6 million) their offer for the 120 acre course.
Premium Golf is a bit of a misnomer, since what they intend to do is turn the course into premium housing.
The city has owned the course since 1924. It was deeded to the city by Horace and Mary Rackham on the condition that it remain a golf course. The Rackham heirs, however, apparently seeing a chance to turn a profit, are considering signing off on a change in the deed.
In the meantime, the city of Huntington Woods, within whose boundaries the course actually sits, has offered $5.5 million. Huntington Woods intends to keep the course as it is.
I can’t help thinking that this is a cheap and tawdry affair, in which the Mayor and City Council are trying to sell off a piece of history for some fast cash. The city is millions in the red, but dumping the Rackham course is a one-time windfall. They’ll use the money to help solve this year’s deficit, and then next year, they will be right back in where they started—minus the golf course.
Selling the course solves nothing.
A better solution would be to lease the course—perhaps to Huntington Woods or to a golf course management firm. That would generate long term revenues, and would ensure that the course remain as Horace and Mary Rackham intended it.