Scioto County Commissioner Bryan Davis met with Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director Mary Mertz on Tuesday, and according to Davis ODNR stated Shawnee State Golf Course would not be reopening and that the department had no intentions of selling the property.
“We had a good discussion, very direct discussion about the current situation. I do appreciate director Mertz coming down along with her staff to discuss things directly,” said Davis. “Basically, what I got out of that meeting is I asked her very bluntly some direct questions as far as, can it be a golf course? And the answer was a direct no. They have no interest in running a golf course and they have no interest in selling or leasing also.”
Davis stated that ODNR expressed that they wanted to hold on to the property and repurpose it. Davis said ODNR stated they have plans as to what they would like to do with the property, and have intentions of investing a large amount of money into the conversion.
According to Davis, zip lining, top golf, and water activities such as kayaking were among those discussed. While some of these recreational options are already available in areas like Turkey Creek, ODNR appears to be envisioning something much larger according to Davis.
Davis stated his own advice to Mertz in regards to the situation was to be open about ODNR’s plans to the public. “My advice to her was, if you have a plan you need to unveil it quickly. If you have a financial commitment that you’re interested in expressing, you need to do that quickly. And they’ve committed to do so,” said Davis.
Davis stated that ODNR does intend to reveal their plans in the near future. “Did we leave with what we wanted? Not necessarily,” said Davis.
While disappointed with ODNR’s firm decision to do away with the golf course, Davis remains somewhat optimistic about the alleged plans.
“Let’s see what happens. Right now, as we discussed we haven’t’ seen anything. As one visitor that was there stated, right now we only have tall grass. We aren’t seeing a commitment. If there is a commitment to be made let’s see that, let’s see what that looks like.”
Davis reiterated that he doesn’t want to see the golf course turned into a walking trail or nature preserve. “We already have one, and it’s called Shawnee State Forest,” said Davis. “Something needs to be developed there and if it can’t be golf, and they’ve made it very clear they would not support that unfortunately, that’s their decision. But in order for anyone locally to get behind their efforts they need to show us what they are talking about and what their plans are. They’ve been tasked with that and I think director Mertz will follow through shortly with that. We’ll see.”
Davis addressed rumors that the property would be turned into an amusement park and stated them to be untrue, while jokingly stating that if Kings Island would like to build in Scioto County there is other land available and commissioners would work with them to make it happen.
Reach: Ivy Potter (740) 353-3101 Extension 1932