The northern Ohio town’s city council will pay for the property with a $4.5 million state EPA grant intended to prevent the construction of multi-family housing.
The Aurora, Ohio City Council voted to buy 196 acres of the Aurora Golf Club on May 14 to prevent the property from becoming a housing development, the Aurora Advocate reported.
The vote accepted a grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of $4.5 million. Aurora Recreation LLC, the current private owner, will receive $3.9 million, while $621,000 will go toward restoration of the Aurora branch of the Chagrin River, under the Water Resources Restoration Sponsorship Program. The decision came after a 1 ½-month discussion by the council.
“There is a great likelihood that there would be homes developed there [without action by Council],” Councilwoman Ann Womer Benjamin said. “We have an opportunity to advance the city.”
“This is the difference between having a housing development or a park,” Council Vice President George Horvat said. “It is not the difference between having a golf course or a park.”
Aurora is a town of about 15,000 in Portage County, southeast of Cleveland. The Aurora (Ohio) Golf Club is nearing the end of its tenure, with an anticipated closing at the end of the 2012 golf season. As a result of the vote, 33 acres of the course could become a passive recreation park, including picnic areas and pavilions.
“I’m proud of this Council [for voting the way it did on a highly debated issue],” Councilman Harold Hatridge said.
“It’s very sad that we can’t keep the property as a golf course,” Womer Benjamin said. “But the city administration is thinking about how this property would benefit Aurora.”