City of Meridian scheduled to take over ownership at Lakeview Golf Club

KemperSports selected to manage the club’s operations on a short-term agreement

A golf course in southwestern Idaho has been the subject of debate regarding the best way to manage it. Currently, a private investor controls the Lakewood Country Club via a lease, but the City of Meridian is going to take it over.

The city will partner with the West Ada Recreation District, according to the new plan. The tentative deal includes buying out the investors’ lease, along with the course’s clubhouse, machinery, carts and liquor license.

According to the Idaho Press, a land exchange was discussed between the lessee, Erik Oaas, and city officials back in February 2019. The discussion was about having two private parties build high-end condos on the Lakeview land. However, a deal never happened.

“There’s been significant pushback both from elected officials and some of the community to use public dollars on an asset that’s managed by a private entity that’s a for-profit entity. So this transaction actually brings everything back into the public realm with those public dollars,” said District Board Chair Shaun Wardle said at an August city council meeting.

Under the leasing agreement, the district will fund around $60,000 upgrades to the course — including some to its irrigation system — before transferring control to the city in September 2023.

Lakeview’s history dates back to 1978 when Cherry Lane Village subdivision developers handed the reigns over to the city to manage. Operations have changed hands twice since then, but the city has owned the property since. Once finalized, the new deal will end a 15-year run with its current lessee.

The district will manage Lakeview over the next three years via a planned, six-month contract with course-management company KemperSports. However, the city will immediately take on the financial gains and losses the course enjoys or suffers, according to the leasing agreement.

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