Differing opinions emerged Wednesday as dozens of people filled Germantown Village Hall to discuss the fate of the Blackstone Creek Golf Course.
The Village Board on Monday will vote on a purchase agreement to buy 153 acres of the golf course from property owners Troy Schmidt and Frank Romano. If this happens, a long-range plan will be developed to ultimately turn the land into a public park that would lie in the heart of the village. In turn, Schmidt and Romano would develop a 40-acre parcel along Mequon Road with retail, and single- and multi-family housing.
Some residents are in favor of the proposal. They see the need for more recreational opportunities for children and young families, including more baseball, softball and soccer fields. Others say if the village loses the golf course, it's losing one of its most valuable amenities.
'The golf course is an asset to the community,' Germantown resident Marv Klowak said. 'There's a lot of recreation for all ages, it brings in jobs, stimulates the economy. We've lived here for 20 years and, for me, the golf course was one of the factors of why we moved here.'
Even if this land deal fails to go through, there is no guarantee the golf course will remain open, Village President Dean Wolter said. If the village doesn't buy it and it's sold, there's a chance no one in Germantown could use it.
'I can't promise it's going to be a golf course two years from now,' Wolter told a group of people gathered around him Wednesday.
Resident Michelle Klowak said turning the golf course into a park is 'disappointing.'
If the deal doesn't go through, Schmidt said, they will go back to the drawing board to determine the future of the parcel. Other entities, such as the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, have expressed interest in the land.
'That's why the village is doing the right thing, stepping up and buying it so they can have control over it,' Schmidt said.
The Village Board members see purchasing the land as a way to secure a benefit for the village for years to come.
Some residents, such as Ellen and Gary Konop, said if the village has to purchase the land to keep it as a public amenity, then they should. They said they would use the park to cross country ski.
If the deal goes through, the village will buy the land for $5,350 per acre. Trustee Jeff Hughes said if the village can afford to purchase the land, it should as 'it's a long-term investment in the community.'
'I'm for it, if we can afford it,' he said.
The Village Board will discuss the purchase agreement behind closed doors Monday; however, any final decision will be made in open session.