Golf course and sports complex to remain in operation in South Jordan after city pays off bond early

Posted at 10:13 PM, Jun 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-04 00:13:34-04

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah -- The fate of a popular recreation destination has been decided. In spite of audits that suggested the Mulligans golf course and sports complex was unprofitable, South Jordan City says it’s here to stay.

The city has technically owned the 67 acres that make up Mulligans for several years, but they owed millions on the bond for the property. The city entertained the ideas of developers who were interested in taking it off their hands, but they now say it’s the residents who'll get what they want instead.

After years of debate in South Jordan, Mulligans is here to stay.

“Some people don't think the city should be in the business of golf,” said Chris Rogers, South Jordan City Councilman. “Some people think the land could be used for better uses. Some people think it should be open space. Some people even think Mulligans should go away and it should turn into grassland.”

But when residents were surveyed, the most common response was along the lines of this resident's perspective: “I just think we have enough business and office buildings around that, it’s nice to have some green space that we keep green--whatever the cost may be.”

Saddled with bond payments of roughly a half million dollars per year, Mulligans hasn't been a money-maker for South Jordan. But a surplus in city revenue made it possible to pay off the entire bond this year for a price of $4.6 million.

Without the overhead, the mayor says Mulligans will now be profitable. Though he admits the move hasn't made everyone happy.

“Anytime you’re talking about a budget of over $80 million, there’s always going to be a difference of opinion, but when it comes down to fiscal responsibility, I think paying off debt is a very responsible way to utilize those funds," Mayor Dave Alvord said.

Aside from money, city pride was also at stake, as Mulligans has been a local mixing spot as much as a sports center.

“Daily, we come and hit softballs daily,” said Derek Garzand.

Golfer Mary Van Gilder said she is a regular as well.

She said: “My son told me when I moved here, ‘You better find some people because we don’t have time to entertain you mom’ …so I did."

The city also says that by paying off the bond ahead of time, they saved the tax payers about $1.8 million in interest. Officials said they expect the site to produce a profit of about $200,000 each year now that the bond has been paid off. They also anticipate having the necessary funding for expenses and upgrades at Mulligans.