Red Wing seeks to push Golf Links litigation forwardArea News
-- The city of Red Wing is working to move along litigation on Mississippi National Golf Links.
By: Danielle Killey , Pierce County Herald
RED WING, Minn. -- The city of Red Wing is working to move along litigation on Mississippi National Golf Links.
The City Council agreed Monday to send letters to former operator Wendell Pittenger and to Associated Bank, which holds a bond on the course, committing to mediation as an option to resolve the issue.
The city filed litigation this fall alleging breach of contract after Pittenger announced in a September newsletter to members he would close the course.
City attorney Amy Mace said attorneys are working to set up mediation as soon as possible.
The golf course committee of Mayor Dennis Egan and Council members Lisa Bayley and Dan Bender has been meeting to discuss the issue for months. The city held a public discussion in November and also has met with groups including the Red Wing Golf Club and Red Wing Municipal Golf Corporation.
Right now the city is looking for a temporary solution to open the course for the 2013 season. They are discussing a contract with the course superintendent to complete regular maintenance work in the winter and spring so the course could be in shape to open, staff said.
The golf course committee wanted to make a more long-term decision relatively soon, but as work progressed “we realized we aren’t in a position to make the decision yet,” Bayley said.
Council Administrator Kay Kuhlmann said decisions are difficult with the litigation and an outstanding bond payment still uncertain. The more than $1 million bond payment due on the course Nov. 1 needs to be resolved if the course is to open in 2013, city staff said.
“It’s also evident that there’s a wide range of opinions” in the community on what to do with the course, Kuhlmann said.
The committee is now looking toward Feb. 1 to make a decision on a potential 2013 season and plans to come forward at the council’s first January meeting with a timeline and proposed process for moving forward with decisions on the course.
“We really have one shot at looking at the long-term viability,” Egan said. “We want to make sure we’ve got the opportunity to vet and air all those suggestions.”
He emphasized if the city decides to open the course for the 2013 season, whatever agreement that leads to that would be temporary. He also noted the city itself would not be running the course.
Council members said they have been pleased with the amount of community participation and variety of ideas for the course, such as expanding the scope of discussions to include a recreation area. They encouraged the public to keep talking and giving input.
“The more synergy there is, the more likely it is we’re going to be able to make this happen,” Council member Peggy Rehder said of finding a solution.