12 groups seeking right to build public golf course

Twelve investment groups are vying for the right to build and operate a public golf course on Fort Smallwood Road near Water Oak Point Road.

The county is to spend two months examining their resumes and checking references before reviewing their proposals to develop course on a 130-acre horse farm, said Bill Rinehart, director of the county Department of Recreation and Parks.

Some of the companies have been involved in other public-private ventures, including the Eagles Landing course outside Ocean City, Mr. Rinehart said at a meeting of the North County Golf Course Advisory Committee Wednesday.

Companies that do not have the expertise or are not financially sound will not be allowed to bid on the project, he said.

If County Executive Robert R. Neall approves the final proposal, the county could open its second public golf course in 18 months to two years, Mr. Rinehart said. The county operates the Eisenhower Golf Course in Crownsville.

County officials have debated building a golf course on the horse farm since the mid-1980s, when a developer proposed building houses there. The county acquired the property in 1990 as a disposal site for material dredged from Rock Creek. No money has been allocated for golf course construction.

Because the county is strapped for cash, County Councilman Carl "Dutch" Holland, a Pasadena Republican, has pushed for the golf course's development through private financing. The developer would be repaid through greens fees and other user fees.

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