The city of Rincon will be buying the Lost Plantation Golf Club, and Mayor Ken Lee said he hopes the sale will be completed soon.
Lee said the city has pursued the purchase of the golf course as a sprayfield for its re-use water. The city has agreed to pay $2.5 million for the course, which covers approximately 300 acres.
“If everything stays on track, it could be concluded very soon,” he said. “We believe that, based on what other municipalities have paid in regard to ventures of this same nature, it’s a pretty good purchase for the city.”
The mayor also said the city, in addiion to buying some place to apply its re-use water, is purchasing something that could further benefit the city.
“We’re buying something that has some capability of generating revenue for the city and also has some investment value that could be an opportunity for the city in the future,” he said. “This re-use is a hot- button with the Environmental Protection Division and this will kind of be our first opportunity to really begin that process. Two things are accomplished — we’re eliminating discharge into the river, but we’re also, hopefully, reducing the amount of groundwater reduction. The EPD is strongly supportive of this effort, they’re fully behind us and pleased that we’re taking this step.”
Councilman Ken Baxley added that it also should reduce withdrawals from the upper Floridan aquifer.
City officials point to utilizing re-use water from the nearby wastewater treatment plant to the fairways, greens and other areas of the golf course as promoting better use of the wastewater treatment plant and will allow further expansions of the city’s ability to provide water and sewer services to other customers in that area.
They also say the more re-use water that can be sprayed onto the golf course or distributed to other users for residential users, the less new water will be needed for yards, grass and plants, and the less cost for that water.
Also, smaller amounts of sewer system treated water will have to be discharged into the nearby creeks and waterways, and it should reduce the amount of additional ground water needed daily from the Upper Floridan aquifer.
At this time, the city intends to operate Lost Plantation as a municipal golf course on the order of other comparable municipal golf courses, such as those in Albany, Augusta, Dublin, Savannah, Toccoa, Waycross and Warm Springs, and comparable public and private courses in the coastal region.
“It is making money at this point,” City Manager Michael Phillips said of the par-72 course. “We anticipate it will make a little more money as we pick it up.”
Effingham County had looked into purchasing the golf course at one point. But officials determined it was not feasible for them, especially given the cost of running re-use lines from its wastewater treatment plant.
The purchase includes the course itself, along with the clubhouse, the cart barn, all golfing equipment and a repair shop and driving range. The course will operate under the guidance of the city manager and with the support of a special committee of city officials and private citizens, in order to provide quality planning and management of the facility.
The city hopes the transition will be simple and that current club members will not see any significant adjustments in their normal golfing activities and routines.
The city’s ownership will reduce some associated costs of operation, such as property tax and sales taxes, which will support a financially stable operation.
The city will begin looking immediately at other opportunities to further develop the potential of the golf course by partnering with local developers for on-site and off-site improvements. Some of these new ideas for the golf course will be handled and developed in-house and others will be detailed, promoted and developed by other interested real estate and development professionals.