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Red Wing City Council drives ahead with golf group's plan

RED WING, Minn. -- A plan for the future of what was once a premier golf course in southeast Minnesota is a step closer to being finalized.

The Red Wing City Council voted 6-1 at a special meeting Monday night on an agreement with local nonprofit Red Wing Municipal Golf Corporation to run Mississippi National Golf Links, a 36-hole course that has played host to such tournaments as the U.S. Golf Association qualifying for the U.S. Senior Open and the U.S. Amateur.

Some details of the contract still will be worked out and a final agreement is expected come before the council at a meeting later this month.

Red Wing Municipal Golf Corporation, a local nonprofit, was the only respondent to the city’s request for proposals for operating Mississippi National.

After negotiations regarding the city’s financial support of the course, the plan discussed Monday has the city contributing $210,000 for 2014 with that number dropping by about 25 percent each year.

The city would be investing in projects such as building repairs, work it likely would do anyway because it owns the property, council President Lisa Bayley said.

The nonprofit group must have at least $400,000 in the bank by Feb. 15 under the agreement, and the city won’t start its work until that happens, Bayley said.

Red Wing Municipal President Robb Rutledge said with the council’s decision to move ahead with the group it now will be easier to raise the needed funds.

The agreement would be for five years, but could be re-evaluated as needed, and includes other details such as the city not co-signing any leases.

“We tried to make an arrangement that would be really sensitive to taxpayer feeling … and still give the golf corporation a chance to run the course and take care of what I think most people in the city feel is a really important asset,” council member Marilyn Meinke said.

The council’s vote was met with applause in the packed meeting room.

Bayley said contract details will be ironed out now and the goal is to have an agreement ready for a council vote by the Nov. 25 meeting.

The previous operator announced in September 2012 he would close the course. The city has been working to reopen it since then.

Danielle Killey

Danielle Killey covers local government for the South Washington County Bulletin. She has worked as a reporter for other Forum Communications newspapers since 2011. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a journalism degree.

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