City: Course staying put

Published 7:08 pm Wednesday, May 23, 2007

By By Kerry Whipple Bean – publisher
Supporters of Dogwood Hills golf course are signing a petition against using the site as a middle school, but city and school officials say there are no plans to shut down the links.
The school system has been looking for a middle school site for many months, and Dogwood Hills is under consideration. Smith said the school system and the city would hold a public meeting next week to consider the pros and cons of locating a middle school next to a golf course.
Mayor Ted Jennings said a committee has existed for two years to look at the possibility of placing the middle school at or near Dogwood Hills, but next week will be the group's first meeting. The committee is made up of school and city officials, he said.
Jennings stressed that neither the school board nor the city has taken any action on the property.
The school system has set aside money for a new middle school but has been waiting for plans for a Wal-Mart Supercenter to be finalized before choosing a location, Smith said.
Supporters of the golf course have been signing a petition at the Dogwood Hills pro shop. Dogwood Hills Men's Association leader Lee Bain said more than 1,400 people have signed the petition so far.
Bain said the group is not against a new school, but they don't want to lose the golf course or the other recreational activities at the park. A playground, tennis courts and a swimming pool are also part of Dogwood Hills, which used to be the private Brewton Country Club. The city bought the site in the 1990s and opened the golf course to the public in 1997.
According to the petition, more than 800 different golfers play at Dogwood Hills each year, and out-of-town golfers make an economic impact on the city by buying food, gas and hotel rooms.
Brewton City Clerk John Angel said the money used to operate the golf course is a self-generating enterprise fund fed by golf course fees.
Jennings said the city offered to let Wal-Mart buy the Dogwood Hills property - with the intention of using money from the sale for a new recreation park - but that Wal-Mart turned them down. &#8220They did not want to tamper with any public recreation facilities,” Jennings said.
Instead, Wal-Mart will build across the street from Dogwood Hills on U.S. 31 North.
Lisa Tindell contributed to this report.

Email newsletter signup