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TEED-OFF RESIDENT TAKES A SWING AT OREM'S PLANS

In behalf of "all" Citizens for Honest Government - the group he says he represents - an Orem resident has filed for an injunction against the city that would take any plans for a golf course off course.

In papers filed with 4th District Court April 3, Robert L. Wright asked for a cease and desist order stopping any further plans and negotiations for a municipal course on the city's west side. He also insists that Orem citizens need the opportunity to vote on whether they want a city golf course at all.In his brief to the court, Wright said Orem's City Council is already "working behind closed doors to approve funding to purchase Lake Front property" and "has already entered into substantial bonded indebtedness without voter approval."

He said the course, if built,would provide services to a special interest group and not serve the needs of the majority of tax-paying citizens.

Wright said plans for a golf course are ill-fated and poorly thought out.

Wright says the city's plans will threaten the Cascade Golf Course, currently run by the Stratton family on city-owned property, and pull customers from the existing six courses in Utah County.

In addition, Wright said the land under discussion has a high water table and is infested with mosquitoes each year.

"I feel so strongly that I want to give the citizens the opportunity to vote that I don't mind paying the $100 fee to file this," said Wright, who expected the city to be served with the papers Monday.

Jim Reams, Orem's assistant city manager, said the city does not have money appropriated to buy the land for a course "at this time" or to develop a course. Reams said it has been no secret, however, that the city has been looking at the possibilities of a course on the west side.

Reams said the charge that the city has already bonded or committed city funds to the project is "not true."

All bonding efforts must come before the public in open hearings, he said.

He said the high water table shouldn't be a major concern because "golfers play on the top."

The feasibility study was based on the price expected for the land, said Reams, so right now, city officials are just trying to get a firm feel for the costs that will be involved.

In early 1994, the city hired THK Associates Inc. of Greenwood, Colo., to conduct a golf feasibility study for a fee of nearly $11,000. The results of that study showed Orem could support an 18-hole golf course in either a Provo Canyon location or on the west side.

The canyon choice would be much more expensive - at least $8 million, and city officials at the time of presentation assigned city recreation staff members to further research possibilities of a course west of the city.

A west-side location would cost $3.5 million and could be expected to generate $600,000 in revenues per year, almost what the debt service on bonds to purchase the property would be.

THK representatives specified that the course would be profitable only if it were kept open for business on Sundays.

City financial advisers have suggested lease/purchase or general obligation bonds could be floated to pay for the course development.