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TUESDAY, JANUARY 30, 2007
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Decatur considers acquiring Splash Golf
Parks director wants facility for picnics, tennis tournaments

By Chris Paschenko
chris@decaturdaily.com 340-2442

Decatur officials are eyeing a golf driving range at Wilson Morgan Park that has apparently been void of customers for years.

During a Monday City Council agenda meeting, Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Dunlap pitched the idea of buying Splash Golf Inc. from owner David Peek for $75,000.

Dunlap isn't proposing resurrecting a failed business, which allowed golfers to practice their water shots by hitting balls at platforms in a retention pond. He wants the approximately 1,000-square-foot building on the property and its irrigation system.

Irrigation system

"I'd like to make it a picnic area and use the building to support tennis tournaments," Dunlap said. "We'd also like to tap into the irrigation system to save money irrigating the soccer field."

Decatur uses city water to irrigate the field, but it wasn't immediately known Monday how much the city could save using the retention pond for irrigation.

The city's tennis courts are next to the Splash Golf building, Dunlap said, and it would help with organizing tournaments there, providing meeting space and restroom facilities.

City Attorney Herman Marks said the city is discussing buying the infrastructure and terminating Peek's lease with the city, which ends in 2020.

Dunlap said he would like to see the golf platforms removed from the pond.

Feb. 5 vote possible

The council could vote Feb. 5 on the purchase.

This could be the city's second purchase from a private business operating at Wilson Morgan Park. In June, the city bought the park's batting cages from Don Stanford for $75,000, determining it to be a fair and reasonable price.

"Each one has made an investment on the property," Dunlap said. "And the batting cages are still generating revenue."

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