WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) – The owners of two competing golf courses in Watertown are ready to team up and bring a housing project to Watertown’s Thompson Park if the city council rejects a deal that would force the city to buy Watertown Golf Club and control the private land on which half of the course is located.
“It’s not meant to look threatening in any way,” said PJ Simao, owner of Ives Hill Country Club. “But that’s the reality of the situation.”
In a phone call with 7 News presenter Jeff Cole, Simao and Watertown Golf Club owner Mike Lundy revealed the price of the deal which is before the board.
Lawmakers will consider paying $3.4 million for the Watertown Golf Club. It would include the approximately 60 acres that Lundy owns, golf carts and course equipment. It would also settle all current and potential future disputes of either golf course owner.
Simao and Lundy have or have had legal battles with Watertown over the park’s golf course.
“It’s a thoughtful deal for everyone,” Mike Lundy said on the call.
The deal would also prompt Simao to reopen Ives Hill Country Club, but a deed restriction would be placed on the property allowing it to operate as a 9-hole course only, making Watertown Golf Club the only 18-hole course in Watertown. , which could be run as a municipal course by the city.
Lundy says an 18-hole golf tournament can bring in between $10,000 and $15,000 in revenue for the club.
The offer was given to the city after Watertown proposed zoning changes to Lundy’s undeveloped land along the golf course. If approved, the changes would prevent Lundy from building homes along the route, which was his intention when he purchased the property in 2018.
“If they want to control the park, they should own it,” Lundy said.
Even with possible zoning changes, the two developers are prepared to partner up and “seriously consider” a housing project in the park if the council rejects the $3.4 million offer. This would likely mean that developers would sue the city for zoning changes.
“The zoning change is done to hurt me. It’s intentional and the process lacked transparency,” Lundy said. “The city knew of my intentions to put homes there when I first purchased the property.”
If the developers go ahead with the housing project, the Watertown Golf Club would likely close, the Lundy acreage would be developed and Ives Hill would remain closed until all disputes were resolved.
“Get Mike and me out of this. The city council should consider the offer and do what is best for the residents, end all litigation and work on developing the master plan for Thompson Park,” Simao added.
The city council will meet in executive session Monday evening and will likely discuss the proposal.
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