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The City of Canal Winchester has received many inquires regarding the potential sale of Westchester Golf Course to the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks. Below are answers to the most frequently asked questions.
Q1. Is the sale final?
A1. It is our understanding that the purchase contract is contingent upon several items, including due diligence and Board approval. The Metro Parks Board has not yet voted to approve the purchase contract. It is our understanding that it will be on the agenda for the next Metro Parks’ Board meeting scheduled for September 15, 2020 at 3 p.m. at Walnut Woods Metro Park Shelter. This meeting is open to the public to attend.
Q2. I heard there were other offers made. Is this true?
A2. Because it is a private land sale between two parties, the City is not involved in the process. Other offers would, of course, not be able to be entertained while the property is in contract to the Metro Parks.
Q3. How long has the City known about the sale?
A3. That the golf course was listed for sale has been public knowledge for a number of years, but the City did not learn of the purchase contract with Metro Parks until late August 2020.
Q4. Why doesn’t the City block the sale to Metro Parks? What has the City done to try and stop the sale from happening?
A4. Because it is a private land sale and the property is currently in contract, the City has a legal obligation to respect the contractual agreement of the parties. It is important to note, however, that in January 2020 the Mayor and Public Service Director met with Steve Studenmund, Planning Manager for Metro Parks, to discuss Metro Parks interest in purchasing the property. At that time, Mayor Ebert expressed to Mr. Studenmund that he would not support Metro Parks buying the golf course for use as anything other than a golf course.
Q5. I was told that any deviation from the golf course use would require approval by Canal Winchester Planning and Zoning and/or City Council. Is this true?
A5. The property is part of the Villages of Westchester PUD zoning district which was established by Ordinance 59-90. A copy of the ordinance which regulates land use in this zoning district can be found here. Metro Parks is represented by outside legal counsel in this transaction and will be undertaking zoning due diligence and ascertaining whether and to what extent such zoning restrictions apply to a park district.
Q6. Will the Metro Parks continue to run the golf course as such after the purchase?
A6. In February 2020, the Metro Parks Board approved a resolution authorizing the Executive Director of Metro Parks to apply for Clean Ohio Grant funding for 3 projects, including the purchase of Westchester Golf Course. Funding in the amount of $1,282,500 was awarded accounting for 75% of anticipated costs of $1,710,000. The remaining 25% (local match) must come from Metro Parks. Clean Ohio Grant funding typically stipulates that property acquired under this program cannot have active recreation on the site. Therefore, accepting grant funding for the purchase may prevent Metro Parks from continuing to operate the golf course.
Q7. Where can I obtain a copy of the grant application submitted by Metro Parks for Clean Ohio Grant funds?
A7. The grant application can be found here.
Q8. I want to express my support/opposition. How can I do this?
A8. Those wishing to express support or opposition of the purchase should contact Metro Parks directly.
Board Members J.B. Hadden email@example.com 614-610-9660
Jim McGregor firstname.lastname@example.org 614-475-5735
George McCue email@example.com 614-229-4542
Executive Director Tim Moloney firstname.lastname@example.org 614-895-6202
Planning Manager Steve Studenmund email@example.com 614-895-6231