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Aug 9, 2017

Long-Standing Tucson Golf Course May Be Repurposed

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Opened just months after the stock market crash of 1929, the El Rio Golf Course, on the northwest side of the Tucson, has long been a national golf destination and a source of local conflict.

Famous golfers and celebrities who have played the 18-hole course include Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan, and Bing Crosby.

But residents of the nearby Hollywood Barrio, living in small single-story homes, have often expressed frustration with the amount of space the 110-acre course takes up, as well as the public money required to keep it going.

According to local sources, the course in 2016, which features two lakes, had a deficit of nearly $500,000.

Now members of the Tucson City Council are studying a proposal that could lead to a repurposing of the El Rio at 1400 W. Speedway Boulevard.

Among the ideas being considered is selling the space for residential development, offering a portion of the course for commercial construction, or turning part of the course into public park space.

Although the El Rio Golf Course was private for four decades, the City of Tucson purchased it for just over $500,000 in 1968.

A proposal to sell it to Grand Canyon University to be developed into a new campus for the for-profit school fell apart four years ago when the city and school were unable to agree on a final plan.

 

By Garry Boulard

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