Almost ten years ago – in November 2007 – city officials and the Boyer Company announced plans for a new retail power center – the Southgate Center – on property in the northwest corner of the East Bay Golf Course. Less than a year later, as the center was well into the planning stages, the Great Recession halted this and many other retail development projects across the United States.
The Southgate plan involved relocating three holes of the East Bay Golf Course to City-owned property on the southeast corner of the course – including a new hole with an island green – and relocating four additional holes by eliminating the 9-hole par-3 junior course. Filling and grading work was well underway for the new holes when the recession hit and the developers and retail anchors were unable to continue with the project.
As the local and national economies have rebounded, the City has been approached by developers and others interested in acquiring property within the area originally included in the Southgate center footprint. Because of its proximity to the University Avenue interchange and its very visible location along I-15, development interest in the site has been for commercial uses such as retail, educational, hotel, and/or office.
Potential development partners have been doing some site assessments recently, and the Provo Redevelopment Agency has partnered in the cost of some geotechnical studies within the area, given that the golf course is located on a former landfill site. These studies have included some drilling, which has been noticed with interest by golfers and others.
Because we have seen this development interest, the City wants to better understand how it could best balance golf and development interests and to identify options for realigning the golf course to accommodate potential development. Accordingly, we will be issuing a request for proposals for a golf course designer to assist in us in our evaluation.
We all recognize that the East Bay Golf Course is an important part of our community and serves many purposes, including a convenient and popular golf experience, supporting high school and college golf teams, providing habitat for waterfowl, and helping clean our water as it flows through the course to Utah Lake. Our elected officials are committed to keeping East Bay as a quality municipal golf course for the foreseeable future while still being open to the possibility of new development in the northwest corner of the course.
In order to be prepared for this possibility, we want to make sure that we have all the information we need to make a smart decision that meets the needs of the golf community, our residents, the business community, and the taxpayers.
Stay tuned for more information! As soon as we know more, we will post it here and invite your comments and thoughts.