City Council Mulls Future of Whitehaven Golf Course

By Bill Dries

Memphis City Council members will take a second look at plans to close the Links of Whitehaven city golf course in November.

CHISM

City Parks and Neighborhood director Janet Hooks told council members last month that Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr.’s administration wants to instead close the Davy Crockett city golf course in Frayser despite council approval this past spring to close the nine-hole Whitehaven golf course.

COLLINS

The council didn’t act on the recommendation from the administration to change that.

“Meaning that the decision that we made last summer stands,” said council member Myron Lowery.

But the council heard Tuesday, Oct. 2, from six Whitehaven citizens, including Shelby County Commission Sidney Chism, who want the council to keep the Whitehaven course open. A meeting facility and other amenities apart from the golf course would remain open throughout the year.

“How did we get to the place that we’re going to close a golf course and keep one open that’s not making money?” Chism asked the council. “None of them make any money. How do you close Whitehaven and leave the rest of them open?”

He and other proponents of keeping the Whitehaven course argue that a closing would only save the city $42,000.

But council member Harold Collins, who represents the area, argued it’s not that simple or that small an amount of money.

“It is not a $42,000 issue. It is a $292,000 issue,” he said, citing other fixed costs like golf carts. “We are trying to figure out ways to make it work. … This is not a $42,000 question. If that was the case, we would have had the course open no matter what.”

Council member Joe Brown said the city golf courses should not be judged by whether they make a profit or don’t.

“It’s not for profit. It’s for recreation,” he said. “That’s the reason you pay taxes. … You put money in your checking account but you can’t make a withdrawal? You are putting money in the tax bank for the amenities you are supposed to have and you can’t make a withdrawal.”

Council members are scheduled to talk about the golf course again at the Oct. 16 executive session.

In other action Tuesday, council members approved without debate the appropriation of $2.2 million in city funding for the latest phase of the Cleaborn Homes mixed-use, mixed-income development that has been renamed Cleaborn Pointe at Heritage Landing. The resolution also changes the name of the city’s larger 10-year, $1 billion development plan from Triangle Noir to Heritage Trails.

The council approved on the second of three readings a change to beer permit rules for off-premises license holders that allows them to have beer tastings.

And the council set an Oct. 16 date to vote on the Annesdale Events planned development at the old Annesdale Mansion at Lamar Avenue and Snowden Circle.

The planned development for the 7.2 acres of land would allow its owners to hold special events, including receptions and parties on the grounds and smaller events in the home itself.