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A look at the proposed golf course

The Kane County Water Conservancy District is seeking $200,000 a year for 30 years from the Kane County Transient Room Tax (TRT) funds to help cover the yearly interest payments for a six million dollar loan they expect to receive from the Permanent Community Impact Fund Board (CIB).

Kane County implements a TRT tax to help support tourism, recreation, cultural, convention or airport facilities within its jurisdiction. The tax is not assessed to locals, but rather to customers lodging in hotels or vacation rentals.

The CIB provides loans and grants to counties, cities and towns that are impacted by mineral resource development on federal lands. Because local communities cannot collect taxes from federal lands, their ability to provide necessities like roads, municipal buildings, recreation, water and sewer service is diminished. To reduce that burden, a portion of the federal lease fees are returned to the CIB to distribute to the impacted communities.

A Utah State statute defines applicant eligibility for CIB funds to any of the following; counties, cities, towns, school districts, building authorities, special service districts, water conservancy districts, county service areas, water or sewer improvement districts, and public postsecondary institutions.

The golf course is proposed to be built on 200 acres, with 98 acres being on SITLA land, 40 acres on BLM land, and 70+ acres being on private property that the KCWCD plans to purchase. Currently, the water district has approximately 600 acre/ft. of water rights from the Kanab Irrigation Company, and 319 acre/ft. would be needed to water the golf course.

At the Kanab Irrigation Company’s annual meeting held last Thursday, KCWCD Executive Director Mike Noel stated, “The golf course won’t diminish the irrigators ability to use their own portion of water rights. If in a given year there is a water shortage, the water district would cut back the same percentage as an irrigator, relative to the amount of water shares it owns.”

The architect for the proposed course is famed designer David McLay Kidd, who designed world class golf resorts like Bandon Dunes in Oregon, and Gamble Sands in Washington.

During the Kane County Tourism Tax Advisory Board meeting on January 14, Kidd outlined his designs and inspiration for the world class course. Kidd’s philosophy includes this statement: “It seems to us that through the creation of courses during the past 20 years, a great course is defined by creative strategy and designed tight lines of attack, juxtaposed with generous fairways and green surrounds. Finding a wayward ball should be probable. This is often how golf courses present themselves in Scotland. The great links have benign rough (most of the time) and a lot of space to miss, but not too much to make birdies.”

The county tourism board plans to get a professional financial analysis performed on the project, which will be paid for by the KCWCD. After which, a public comment period will be opened. Those dates have not been set yet, but will be provided after the necessary due diligence has been done.




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