Are we buying this for public use? Or public purpose?

I realize this is not eminent domain, but

  • why exactly does a town going deep into debt need a golf course? and
  • how many old men will use it?
  • How much revenue will it bring?

Research in comparative neuroanatomy has shown that complex brains - and sophisticated cognition - have evolved from simpler brains multiple times independently in separate lineages and Framingham's Town Meeting has missed out on all of them.

Please note carefully from annual reports over 30 years that we are accumulating cross generational debt. Debt that cannot be paid back by the same generation that borrowed it. For the last 8 years, we have been borrowing about $28 million each and every year.

We have $338 million in unfunded retirement and OPEB.

We have $333.5 million in Pie In The Sky projects including this golf course.

We have $383 million in debt (inside/outside debt limit)

Some of us suspect that the town will hold on to it for a few years before it is sold to a friend of the town of Framingham, usually someone close to the Planning Board or Zoning Board. This is standard fare in many communities.

Framingham has many such giveaways.

How does this improve the lives of all Framingham residents?

How will precint 17 folks (southeast corner of Framingham) get to the northwest corner or Framingham? MWRTA? Hilarious.

This golf course is within the confines of precinct 1, the precinct with the most open land of any political precincts.

Have you considered more open space in precinct 17? Is precinct 17 where we store the trash?

If we were to buy this golf course, who would maintain it? Parks and Rec? How many new employees would be needed as our governmemt continues to metastasize? Parks and Rec has been the fastest growing department. How many employees are needed to run a golf course? The main activity will be to kill life that is not compatible with golf.

Has anyone estimated revenues, or are we just grabbing land off the tax roles?

Framingham Expenditures 2000 - 2009

Framingham Expenditures 2010 - 2019

How long do we keep it? How much does it cost the taxpayers to maintain it year to year for 50 years?

This potential acquisition seems similar to the Framingham police department's purchase of the mobile command center which was ditched in 3 years and barely turned over 1,000 miles.

It's another Framingham boondoggle

If we have 68 acres of land, can we install solar panels over it, and perhaps a shady cemetery underneath the panels. I'm guessing that we have rules about double use of land.

Can anyone calculate how large a solar panel farm is needed for all Framingham residents to get free electricity? How much would it cost?

I'm guessing the tree huggers are horrified at the thought.

Framingham: Taking over Millwood Farms Golf Course could be costly, officials say August 24, 2016
Jim Haddadin 617-863-7144 Metrowest Daily News
FRAMINGHAM - Taxpayers will be on the hook for $200,000 a year or more if Framingham acquires Millwood Farms Golf Course, town officials said, cautioning that revenue from the course won't be sufficient to cover the cost of buying it.

About 100 residents gathered at Nevins Hall Wednesday to discuss the town's options for the 14-hole golf course, which is under agreement to be sold to a Southborough developer.

Town Meeting members will decide next week whether to intervene in the sale. Selectmen have scheduled a Special Town Meeting Sept. 1 to determine whether the town will exercise its right of first refusal to buy the property for $5.5 million.

The town on Wednesday released several hundred pages of analysis regarding the sale, including a study of the feasibility of running Millwood Farms as a municipal golf course. Town officials also studied the cost of decreasing the size of the course, or shuttering it altogether and selling off pieces for limited development.

In all three scenarios, Town Manager Bob Halpin said, the town wouldn't be able to raise enough revenue to cover its acquisition costs. Halpin encouraged residents to focus on the potential for preserving open space when they make their decision next week rather than on converting the golf course into a money maker.

“It's an open space acquisition and an opportunity to do something in the future if we want to,” Halpin said, “but it's not going to pay for the acquisition.”

Lay of the land

Located in Nobscot on the town's Northside, the nearly 66-acre property is situated in the most affluent and least developed part of Framingham.

Its longtime owner, the Drake family, struck a deal in May to sell the course to Capital Group Properties, which has expressed interest in building age-restricted housing on the property.

Because the golf course previously received tax breaks, the town has the right to match any bona fide offer to buy it and convert it to another use. A 120-day window for the town to make its decision is set to expire Sept. 9.

The land up for sale contains the public golf course as well as three homes: a three-bedroom colonial, which houses a snack bar and offices for the course; and two former single-family homes, which have been converted into apartment buildings.

There are also a handful of other buildings on the grounds, including a pro shop, two barns and an equipment storage shed.

An environmental review determined there are some low to moderate risks on the site, including two underground gas tanks, though Halpin said none were deemed a major concern. The town is still investigating whether the site was once used as a landfill - a notion raised in a single record on file with the state.

An appraisal requested by the town affirmed the selling price is on par with the market value of the course. The land is worth an estimated $5.5 million if it can be developed as active adult housing, as Capital Group has proposed, and as much as $6 million as a conventional subdivision with about 50 lots, according to the town's appraisal.

Running the course

A feasibility study conducted by Tom Irwin Advisors found the course is in good condition, though it would benefit from improvements to the irrigation system. It currently turns a profit of about $60,000 to $80,000 per year. The town's consultant estimated the profit margin could be increased to approximately $100,000 under the town's control.

The study's authors were also optimistic that demand will remain steady at the course, which sees about 24,000 rounds of golf played each year.

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