Upscale driving range proposed for southwest Lubbock

Upscale driving range proposed for southwest Lubbock

A proposal was delayed by Lubbock City Council. It would provide a unique attraction in southwest Lubbock on city-owned land. It has been tabled until the next council meeting.

"There are private investors that want to lease part of McCallister park," Mayor Glen Robertson explained.

"A group of investors have approached us about the concept of doing a public-private partnership on park land to develop a new, upscale type driving range," councilman Jim Gerlt added. "It looks like a good, positive business model from what we've got so far. So, from that standpoint, yes, it's got a lot of benefits and I think there are several of them across the country that are doing well. I think it's a great concept, a great idea and I hope it's made at some point here in Lubbock just not on public park land, that's my concern."

The proposal is for an upscale, combined golf academy and driving range that is equipped with a restaurant and bar. The new range would be inside McAlister Park off Spur 327 and Milwaukee avenue.

"I think it's a great idea," local golfer Joshua Montoya said. "It's not really a popular game but it's beginning to look that way so I think it would grow the game. "You can have some fun, you know? Golf is a hard game anyways so it would be good for that to be a hangout, a place people want to go."

The range would be just east of the Western Little League fields. The proximity raises concern among council members.

"It doesn't make sense to me to put alcohol to a little league park, especially one with a special needs park in it, and then Legacy Village, which is for children," councilman Gerlt said. "We put 68% of the city's budget into public safety. Why would we try and compromise some of that?"

"As long as they keep to themselves, I think should be alright," Montoya rebuttaled. "It shouldn't change how these little kids think."

Another concern is the 20 year lease. As of now in the proposal, the city would charge $100,000 each year with a 1% annual increase.

"I'm a little uncomfortable with leasing park land to private investors unless we can get good, fair market value. I'm concerned that the proposal we've got on the table is not fair market value," Mayor Robertson said.

"Lubbock came in with an appraisal value of about $495,000. I'm a little skeptical of that," councilman Gerlt added. "What if something were to happen to this driving range and it folds? "If they can't make it in a public-private partnership, we sure don't want to have to take over and support it with public tax dollars."

Overall, local golfers and members of city council agree it is a unique concept for Lubbock. They disagree over the details and location of the driving range. City Council will vote on the resolution allowing city manager James Loomis to negotiate the license agreement for the driving range July 23rd.

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