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Mike Nowatzki, Published March 12 2009

Mattern says West Fargo golf course 'probably not going to move forward'

FARGO - A proposal to build West Fargo’s first golf course is “probably not going to move forward” anytime soon, Mayor Rich Mattern said today.

Mattern made his remarks during the fifth annual State of the Cities forum, hosted by the Chamber of Commerce of Fargo Moorhead at Fargo’s Ramada Plaza Suites.

An audience member asked Mattern through the emcee when they could make their first tee time at the West Fargo golf course.

“Well, if you’re polishing your golf clubs to go golfing in West Fargo, I would put that back in the bag,” Mattern said.

“Right now, if I had to say is it going to be built or not, I would say not,” he continued. “And I take some of the blame for that, I think, and the developer. We didn’t get the best of information out there when we should have, and it wasn’t presented very well, and the economy is not the best.”

City leaders approved an agreement with Westport Beach Development Corp. in December to build an 18-hole golf course on the city’s south side. Under the agreement, the developer would donate the land, but the city would be responsible for operating and maintaining the course.

City officials project the course will cost $6.7 million to build. The city approved a $500,000 contract in December with Lehman Design Group of Scottsdale, Ariz., to design the course, which would be surrounded by a housing development.

The proposal has been a hot topic in West Fargo, with critics arguing the city has more pressing needs than a golf course. Several hundred people attended a public forum Feb. 17 to discuss the proposal.

Mattern said he doesn’t believe the project has been nixed for good.

“I still think it’s a great project, and it’s a win-win for everyone,” he said. “But the people for the most part, I think, have said that right now they don’t want it. And so if they don’t want it, that’s the way it’ll be.

“But right now, I think it’s probably not going to move forward.”