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The city needs to start negotiating now with the federal government on a land swap if it wants to have a golf course in the foothills above Centerville ready for play by the year 2000.

That's the advice consultant Earl Kemp gave the City Council this week in a public hearing on the feasibility study Kemp did last summer that determined there is enough demand to support another 18-hole course in the county.Kemp studied the foothill site and believes a "target" style course can be built on the land, most of which is currently owned by the U.S. Forest Service.

Negotiating a land swap or trade with the Forest Service is tough and time consuming, Kemp told the council, and the city should open talks as soon as possible.

The federal agency has strict guidelines on giving up land it controls, Kemp said, recommending the city tout the recreational, green belt, and firebreak attributes of the course.

A few residents attended the hearing and one, Wayne Argyle, said he opposes the plan to use 100 South as the access road to the course. The course will generate up to 250 vehicle trips per day on a weekend, Argyle said, which is too much for a narrow residential street.

And Jim Stephens, representing a group of target shooters, questioned the effect of a golf course on the city's gun range in the same area.

Kemp said the problem is not insurmountable and is typical of conflicts that can emerge when land is designated for multiple use.

Another resident, Dave Hill, lives adjacent to where the course's 9th hole would be built.

"You can increase my taxes right now if it goes to something like this," Hill told the council. "My question is why are you waiting to open it until the year 2000? It takes an act of Congress now to get on a course."

Kemp said his projections show if the course opened this summer it would generate about 60,000 rounds of golf, which is not enough to pay for its operation.

But population, the sport's growth, and other projections show if the course opens by 1999 or 2000, it will handle between 90,000 and 95,000 rounds, which should pay its operating and construction costs, Kemp estimates.

He also said that depending on how negotiations go with the Forest Service, it could take that long to acquire the land and water rights and build the course.

The number of rounds projected takes into account that three, maybe four, new courses are either already under construction or being planned in the county, according to Kemp.

The City Council took no formal action after the hearing. The issue of starting the land acquisition process will come up again in the next few months as the council prepares the city's budget for the new fiscal year starting July 1.