Report says purchase of Casselberry golf course could prove costly to city

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CASSELBERRY, Fla. - Channel 9 has uncovered a new twist in the fight over a struggling golf course in Casselberry. The owners of the Casselberry Golf Club are suing for their right to sell the property, but Channel 9's Steve Barrett has learned that the city is looking at buying the property.

"It'd be a heart-breaker for me, because I play out here twice a week," said golfer Robbie Robertson.

Robertson, 80, is talking about a major change to his retirement schedule -- the potential loss of his local golf course.

He golfs every week with Gene Helton, who didn't know if taxpayers would like the city of Casselberry buying out the troubled links.

"I don't know about the taxpayers. I don't know if they'd want to lose money on it. But I don't want to see it closed. It's a great place to play golf," said Helton.

Casselberry commissioned a consultant to look at whether the troubled and now privately-owned course might be a reasonable investment for the city's taxpayers. The recommendation was not good.

The consultants evaluated a number of scenarios, including upgrading all 18 holes or turning half the course into city parks. They said all the options would lose money.

The company that owns the golf club is suing the city because they want to redevelop the land. If the city bought the property, consultants said it would lose more than $200,000 a year for the foreseeable future with no profit in sight, a frustrating quandary for those who enjoy the course, which is well kept, but in the red.

"There are a lot of people who come here and play. So I can't see any reason why it wouldn't be a money making deal," said Robertson.

The city manager told Channel 9 that the consultant's report is just part of an ongoing process that will end with a final decision by elected officials in the future.