, 2023-03-15 20:26:35,
Wrangell’s popular community golf course has struggled to make its land lease payments in recent years. The course sits tucked against the water just south of the airport on state land. Now, the borough manager has proposed a solution: could the local government take over the land?
Wrangell’s 9-hole golf course – Muskeg Meadows – is a place to, yes, play golf and disc golf, but is also a gathering place for walkers and runners, and it hosts many community events.
But the nonprofit Wrangell Golf Club has struggled to keep up with the lease of the land it sits on. The land is owned by the state Department of Transportation, because the course is nestled up against the southern end of the island’s airport runway. And DOT isn’t keen to give it up.
Mayor Patty Gilbert related a conversation with a state official about a potential land transfer at an assembly meeting in late February: “It’s DOT-owned land adjacent to an airport. I asked her what the possibility is that they would transfer it to the city. And I think she laughed at me,” she concluded, laughing herself.
The land is required to be re-appraised every five years, and DOT charges Muskeg Meadows a percentage of that appraised value for the lease.
Borough manager Jeff Good explained that paying for an updated commercial appraisal this year and the corresponding lease payment could cost upwards of $12,000 – a strain for the nonprofit.
Good is also a volunteer board member at Muskeg Meadows. And he suggested that the borough take over the land’s lease from the course, then sublease the land back. While DOT has to charge a private entity like Muskeg Meadows to lease the land, it’ll cost Wrangell’s government nothing. Plus, the land won’t have to be re-appraised.
“There would be some paperwork that would have to be done as far as figuring out how the real property works that’s on the properties – the stuff that’s there permanently – that has to be transferred over to the city and then what the liability of the city would be and how we would cover those liability costs,” Good explained.
Once the lease is transferred to Wrangell, the borough would be free to sublease the site back to Muskeg Meadows without DOT needing to be involved. It’ll come at no cost to the borough, and save Muskeg Meadows money in the long run. Good…
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