Metro may buy private country club - WSMV Channel 4

Metro may buy private country club

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Metro's finance department is negotiating a nearly $3 million deal to buy a private country club for use as a future city park. It's a purchase the taxpayers won't be able to enjoy for two years, unless they pay fees to the private club.  

Ravenwood Country Club in Hermitage is a private club right now; you have to be a paying member to use the  golf course, the Olympic-sized swimming pool or the tennis courts. 

Metro is negotiating to buy Ravenwood for $2.8 million. The city wants the 181 acres for future green space.

Councilman Bruce Stanley likes the idea. Ravenwood is right next to the  Stones River Greenway.

"I think it's important that we maintain that greenway, and that we maintain the acreage on either side of that greenway," Stanley says.

When and if the land becomes a city park,  metro expects to keep the pool and  tennis courts open, but park officials expect to close the golf course.

The hitch is Metro can't use the property at all until 2014. That's because the current owner promised members he'd keep it as-is until then.

So for two years, taxpayers will own a private country club -- a club that taxpayers can't use unless they pay the country club's fees;  for example, $450 for a summer pool membership.

"It was in the city's best interest to go ahead and buy it now," says Jim Fyke, who works for the metro finance department.

Fyke says this is a good investment for the future, and the time is right.

"We had a willing seller. And a willing buyer, with Metro.  We thought the price was better now than it might be in two years, and we didn't want to take a chance and miss the opportunity," Fyke says.

There are still details yet to be worked out. The country club members can stop the sale and buy the club themselves. The sale also has to pass city council.

The CEO of Ravenwood Country Club, David Watkins, declined to speak to Channel 4.

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