Group drops plan to purchase one, but not all, city-owned golf courses

Backers of a plan to purchase a pair of city-owned golf courses as part of a proposed nature preserve are narrowing their focus to include only the course that is not surrounded by homes.

Jane Garrison, who heads the Oswit Land Trust, said her organization is dropping plans to purchase the Legends Course at the city’s Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort and instead hopes to incorporate only the Resort Course into the proposed Mesquite Desert Preserve. As designed, the preserve would see the dead Bel Air Greens course and the neglected Mesquite Golf & Country Club combine with the Resort Course to form “a beautiful natural desert setting with walking paths, educational plaques, community gardens and more.”

The project is a partnership between Garrison’s organization and The Trust for Public Lands.

“Oswit Land Trust has met with many neighbors surrounding the Legends Golf Course and learned that there are residents surrounding that course who would like to retain that course for golf (the Resort Golf Course is not surrounded by houses),” Garrison said Monday in an email to The Post. “We respect those residents and have changed our proposal to consider their wishes.”

Members of an organization opposed to any potential sale of the city’s golf courses said Monday they were still hoping neither course becomes part of the proposed preserve.

“Both courses are important to the economy of the city,” said one member of Save PS Golf, which formed earlier this year. “Both are used, and one only has to see the clubhouse parking lot and driving range. The fight goes on!”

City leaders have maintained that the golf resort is not for sale, even as debate continues on whether the city should continue infusing cash into their operation. An average of $1.8 million has been transferred into the golf resort budget from the general fund annually during the past decade, including nearly $2.6 million during the pandemic, when golf revenues plunged to half of what they were in all prior years.

Talk of the potential sale continues to be part of the Palm Springs City Council’s executive sessions, which are designed to discuss matters such as legal issues and property sales in private before bringing the issues forward for public discussion.

“At this point, the City Council is only discussing the technical aspects related to the appraisal process,” said Flinn Fagg, the city’s development services director. “Should a sale be considered, the City Council would schedule an agenda item in an open session after conducting public input on the issue.”

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