DEDA approves selling option for Lester Park Golf Course
The Duluth Economic Development Authority (DEDA) approved the selling option for the former Lester Park Golf Course to Oppidan Investment Co. in a vote Wednesday morning.
Chad Ronchetti, the Executive Director of DEDA, said the agreement gives the developer the option to purchase the properties on the 36 acres of Lester Park Golf Course, but that other work still needs to be done before that purchase could happen.
“This option agreement cannot be exercised until there is a development agreement that has been negotiated with the developer. So, there’s still a lot of work to be done between now and then,” Ronchetti said. “This is just the beginning. Designs need to be come up with community input and hopefully the mayor elects’ input.”
Ronchetti said this approved option agreement does not apply to any development concept. It also does not obliges to any development design at the moment.
“That’s when the real work starts,” Ronchetti said. “Now we have a development group at the table, that has some assurance they will be able to be negotiated with in earnest. They are going to give opportunity for the community to voice their desires (and) wants for access and other associated amenities.”
City Councilor-at-Large Arik Forsman, said he spoke with Oppidan and Mayor Elect Reinert about DEDA approving the selling option.
“I anticipate that the final concept could look different from what we are talking about today, but, I’m really excited about the partner that we have,” Forsman said. “It’s important for people to understand the area that we’re talking about is closest to the existing roads. It likely does not impede much of the golf course at all.”
If Oppidan does not agree to the selling option, the Duluth Economic Development Authority would still own the 36 acres.
“I don’t anticipate that we’re going to necessarily see a city owned and operated golf course. It could potentially be very complementary to publicly accessible recreation,” Forsman said. “The potential development is focused on senior housing, which we know is a huge need within the community that could also then free up a lot of single family homes within Duluth too.”