Sep 10, 2021 - Real Estate

The Ponds at Battle Creek closes as golf course's future remains uncertain

Greenery and a pond at The Ponds at Battle Creek golf course.

The Ponds at Battle Creek will close on Sunday. Photo courtesy of Ramsey County

The Ponds at Battle Creek will close on Sunday after just 17 years as a golf course, but the debate about what to do with the south Maplewood land rages on.

State of play: Ramsey County, which owns the course, made the decision to close The Ponds in 2019, but delayed the closure until now. Officials are currently seeking out developers to buy the 88-acre course, along with a 77-acre site just to the north on Century Avenue.

  • The nine-hole course was built in 2001, near the height of the Tiger Woods-inspired golf boom, and inmates at the nearby Ramsey County Correctional Facility tended to the grounds.
  • But the county says it's the worst performing of its five courses. (The Ponds lost money in seven of the past 11 years, though it turned small profits the last two after getting some debt forgiveness.)

What they're saying: The county is open to selling the two sites to a single developer or splitting them up between two, and private golf course operators are welcome to submit, Ramsey County director of property management Jean Krueger told Nick.

  • But county commissioners have expressed a strong interest in using the land for housing, including affordable homes.

The other side: Golfers and neighbors are pushing back against plans to convert the course into housing. Maplewood Mayor Marylee Abrams told the Star Tribune she wants to keep The Ponds as a golf course, and noted that the city has the authority to rezone the property for housing.

  • Environmental groups are also protesting development, saying the land is an important bird habitat.

What's next: Developers must notify the county of their interest by Sept. 20 and submit a response by Oct. 4.

  • A developer, following interviews this fall, could be selected by late November.

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