The city council of the largest city in the state of Utah is scrambling to get their game together—their golf game, that is. Public courses in Salt Lake City are in trouble, with debt and deferral causing headaches for the government, prompting them to come up with solutions fast, and their solutions are to shut ‘em down. But one golf course, nine-hole Nibley near 2700 S. 700 East, has been saved. Not by the bell, but by its deed, as a real estate attorney could explain.
When the Nibley family gave the land to the city in 1922, their own real estate attorney in Salt Lake was full of foresight, writing up the contract so that the land must be used only as a golf course or returned to the Nibley family. So while the Salt Lake City Council is busy slashing golf courses off the list, Nibley won’t be one of them, though Wingpointe and Glendale or Jordan River Par 3 might not be so fortunate.
SALT LAKE CITY REAL ESTATE ATTORNEY CAN CLARIFY ONE GOLF COURSE TO STAY WHILE OTHERS MAY BE GOING, GOING GONE
For golf lovers in the valley, it is bad news. The city’s courses have run up a debt of about $1.5 million in operations and “has more than $20 million in deferred maintenance.” The greens should be self-sustaining, with fees for play and cart rentals supporting the courses, because “by city ordinance, it cannot be supported by taxpayers and the general fund.” And lagging behind a sound fiscal operating plan, the golf enterprise in Salt Lake has come under intense scrutiny by not only the City Council, but Mayor Ralph Becker himself, who “said if the council did not find a solution, he would.”
A real estate attorney in Salt Lake knows that Glendale and Wingpointe, as well as Jordan Par 3 are not so lucky as Nibley to be protected by their deeds, and they may indeed see closure. Wingpointe would be “given to Salt Lake City International Airport” and Glendale “transformed for other recreational needs.” Jordan Par 3, meanwhile, would be designated simply as “open space” that needs far less maintenance than an entire golf course.
A real estate attorney in Utah knows that the City Council was up against a dead-end in targeting Nibley. But the Council remained hopeful for months, soliciting advice from “consultants, a citizens advisory committee, and…proposals from Westminster College students and business students from the University of Utah.” But try as they might, transforming Nibley was a no-go. Even though they were “briefed on more than one occasion that the Nibley links could not be transformed for other uses because of the deed restrictions,” it took an attorney reiterating “the legal reality” regarding the deed for the council to give up on the plan.
The budget for the upcoming fiscal year hasn’t been completed, but “the administration is optimistic that discarding Wingpointe and closing Glendale and the Jordan River Par 3 could be enough to get the golf system back on an even keel,” to the disappointment of fans of the three courses.
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Salt Lake City, Utah
|City of Salt Lake City|
“The Crossroads of the West”
|Coordinates: 40°45′39″N 111°53′28″WCoordinates: 40°45′39″N 111°53′28″W|
|Named for||Great Salt Lake|
|• Type||Strong Mayor–council|
|• Mayor||Erin Mendenhall (D)|
|• City||110.81 sq mi (286.99 km2)|
|• Land||110.34 sq mi (285.77 km2)|
|• Water||0.47 sq mi (1.22 km2)|
||4,327 ft (1,288 m)|
|• Rank||122nd in the United States
1st in Utah
|• Density||1,797.52/sq mi (701.84/km2)|
| • Urban
||1,021,243 (US: 42nd)|
| • Metro
||1,257,936 (US: 47th)|
| • CSA
||2,606,548 (US: 22nd)|
|Time zone||UTC−7 (Mountain)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−6|
|Area codes||801, 385|
|GNIS feature ID||1454997|
|Major airport||Salt Lake City International Airport|
|Website||Salt Lake City Government|
Salt Lake City (often shortened to Salt Lake and abbreviated as SLC) is the capital and most populous city of Utah, as well as the seat of Salt Lake County, the most populous county in Utah. With a population of 199,723 in 2020, the city is the core of the Salt Lake City metropolitan area, which had a population of 1,257,936 at the 2020 census. Salt Lake City is further situated within a larger metropolis known as the Salt Lake City–Ogden–Provo Combined Statistical Area, a corridor of contiguous urban and suburban development stretched along a 120-mile (190 km) segment of the Wasatch Front, comprising a population of 2,606,548 (as of 2018 estimates), making it the 22nd largest in the nation. It is also the central core of the larger of only two major urban areas located within the Great Basin (the other being Reno, Nevada).
Salt Lake City was founded July 24, 1847, by early pioneer settlers, led by Brigham Young, who were seeking to escape persecution they had experienced while living farther east. The Mormon pioneers, as they would come to be known, entered a semi-arid valley and immediately began planning and building an extensive irrigation network which could feed the population and foster future growth. Salt Lake City’s street grid system is based on a standard compass grid plan, with the southeast corner of Temple Square (the area containing the Salt Lake Temple in downtown Salt Lake City) serving as the origin of the Salt Lake meridian. Owing to its proximity to the Great Salt Lake, the city was originally named Great Salt Lake City. In 1868, the word “Great” was dropped from the city’s name.
Immigration of international members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, mining booms, and the construction of the first transcontinental railroad initially brought economic growth, and the city was nicknamed “The Crossroads of the West”. It was traversed by the Lincoln Highway, the first transcontinental highway, in 1913. Two major cross-country freeways, I-15 and I-80, now intersect in the city. The city also has a belt route, I-215.
Salt Lake City has developed a strong tourist industry based primarily on skiing and outdoor recreation. It hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics. It is known for its politically progressive and diverse culture, which stands at contrast with the rest of the state’s conservative leanings. It is home to a significant LGBT community and hosts the annual Utah Pride Festival. It is the industrial banking center of the United States. Salt Lake City and the surrounding area are also the location of several institutions of higher education including the state’s flagship research school, the University of Utah. Sustained drought in Utah has more recently strained Salt Lake City’s water security and caused the Great Salt Lake level drop to record low levels, and impacting the state’s economy, of which the Wasatch Front area anchored by Salt Lake City constitutes 80%.