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$260K Temporary Budget Approved for Mystic Creek Takeover

The Dearborn Recreation and Parks Department will take 60 days to assess the property and submit a full budget.

As the City of Dearborn continues the bargaining process for the takeover of the Mystic Creek Golf Club, City Council on Tuesday approved a temporary budget of $260,000 that will help the city transition to ownership.

City officials this month agreed to begin the process to repossess the golf course and banquet center, which is on Camp Dearborn property but has been run by a private company.

The proposal on the table would require owner Jim Dewling and his company, Total Golf, to hand over the reigns for a sum of $900,000—minus anything Dewling owes on the property, including back taxes and back rent.

Mayor Jack O’Reilly explained that the temporary budget would allow the Recreation and Parks Department to spend two months going over operations, costs and revenue of the facility in order to finalize a more concrete budget for fiscal year 2013.

“This budget is only to get through the transition, and it doesn’t commit us to being the operators,” O’Reilly said. “We have until April to put into place whatever operating model we think we want to do.”

Councilman Bob Abraham expressed concern that the course will quickly start sucking up budget dollars.

“If it takes $260,000 to go 60 days … it’s going to take $130,000 a month until May or June,” he cautioned.

Also in question is how much revenue the course will generate to offset those costs, especially since the golf season is over.

But with Dewling threatening to walk away from the course entirely, city officials agreed that a repossession—which allows them to retain all equipment, the liquor license, and bookings—is the best option.

“The asset is going to fall back to us either way,” O’Reilly said. “One where we’re starting from scratch … and one where we transition in a ‘friendly’ takeover, if you will.”

Recreation Director Greg Orner explained that the budget has a cushion to allow them to keep paying employees and running upcoming booked events while they assess the property.

“We don’t expect to expend that full amount of dollars,” Orner said. “We wanted to give ourselves a little latitude. … then we would come back to the council with a full budget for fiscal year 2013.”

 The city expects to reach a final agreement with Dewling and Total Golf this week.

Michael D. Albano November 01, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Jessica, other than Councilman Abraham who voiced his concerns with this issue, I'm wondering if you can give us the exact council vote for and against this expenditure.
City of Dearborn (Editor) November 01, 2012 at 05:30 PM
I believe it was a unanimous approval, but I'd have to go back and check the video to be sure. All city officials have maintained that this is a somewhat expensive but unavoidable move. The only less expensive option, I suppose, would be to let the property close entirely - but then there's no opportunity for revenue.
Dearborn Taxpayer November 01, 2012 at 10:47 PM
Another example why the City of Dearborn needs to get our of "Camp Dearborn" and focus it's tax revenue on services provided within our city limits!
dearborn resident November 02, 2012 at 10:18 AM
well camp dearborn has been a part of our city since the 1950s.It is our property and we do have to maintain it.The course is a beautiful course and Im a regular there.There is plenty to made on this golf course if our city takes over.I'll put money on it.
Michael D. Albano November 02, 2012 at 02:56 PM
The city did operate the golf course prior to Total Golf operating it. However, my concern is, the city saw the issues coming from Total Golf for quite some time, per the article. Why did they wait until the last minute to do something? It's also just my opinion, but the camp used to be packed with up to 30,000 people on Sundays prior to the golf course being built. When the golf course was originally built, it made money, due to the fact that Oakland County had a shortage of golf courses. Today, Oakland County has overbuilt on golf courses. Along with many others, I just wish the city would consider other options, such as bringing the golf course area back to it's original usage intent, or perhaps being more creative with the approximately 40% of the Camp the golf course acreage took away from day campers, TV 3 trailers and mobile home lovers, as well as the once wonderful Youth Camp. Today money is tight, especially for working class families, with the middle class struggling. Many of these people are looking for inexpensive vacations much closer to home. That's my 2 cents...
City of Dearborn (Editor) November 02, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Good point, Michael, and I believe all options are still on the table. Mayor O'Reilly mentioned that one of the good parts of owning Mystic Creek again is that they can now factor that property into any future plans for CD. I'll have to check on the status of the feasibility study for camp, though, which will tell the city more about what the best options might be.

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