Asbury residents learn about $2.7 million golf clubhouse project

ASBURY, Iowa — A full house turned out to an informational meeting this week to learn more about the City of Asbury’s proposed Meadows Golf Club renovations, asking questions and sparking a thorough discussion.

About 30 people attended in person, filling the city’s programming room, while 30 more attended virtually. During the meeting, Origin Design representatives presented an overview of the project and city staff answered audience questions.

The project, which would include maintenance upgrades, the addition of golf simulators and expansion of the clubhouse kitchen, has an estimated cost of about $2.7 million. About $1 million of that would go toward maintenance, as well as work to improve access for people with disabilities.

The renovations would result in a change in business model for the golf club. The golf simulators would allow golfers to use the facility year-round, while the kitchen improvements aim to provide an eating destination for the west end of town.

“We’re going to update the interior to offer a fresh look and create a destination for Asbury with that upper bar and grill,” Origin Design CEO Pat Ready said.

Many in the audience had questions about how the project would be funded and how it would impact the city’s financial situation.

About $2.6 million would come from tax increment financing, with the remainder coming from the city’s general fund. Because of this, the project would not cause an increase in taxes.

Golf club general manager Jeremy Hawkins said simulators have become “an expected amenity” at golf courses and that he expects simulator rental revenues to make up the cost of adding them within a few years. Hawkins said an estimated rental fee would be $40 for an hour.

Attendee Mary Houselog asked how many city residents were members of the club and whether there were any other projects the city could use the TIF funds for instead.

Though only 59 Asbury residents are members, the club has 136 members total. Non-members also use the club and golf course.

Mayor Jim Adams said the only other TIF-eligible project on the horizon for the city would be a roundabout project on Hales Mill Road and that the club renovation would not exhaust TIF funds.

“I don’t know of any other development project that at this point is on our radar,” he said.

Asbury resident Mike Ready, who also asked questions about funding and the project’s parameters, said he walked into the meeting apprehensive but left reassured.

“I had different feelings than I have right now because now I know what the facts are,” he said.

Asbury City Council will hold a public hearing on March 8 before voting on whether to allow the project to go out to bid. Final approval of the project and selection of a contractor would not happen until after a public hearing scheduled for April 12.

If approved, construction would begin in October with an April 2023 completion date.