Proposal surfaces for city to purchase Watertown Golf Club

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Oct. 14—WATERTOWN — Two developers at the center of a controversy involving the Watertown Golf Club at Thompson Park have come up with a way to resolve the club’s long-standing issues with the city.

Developers Michael A. Lundy and P.J. Simao are proposing that the city buy the nine holes that Mr. Lundy owns at the golf course.

City Manager Kenneth A. Mix confirmed Thursday that talks are “continuing” with Mr. Lundy about the city purchasing the portion of the golf club that Mr. Lundy owns. The club owns holes one through six and 16 to 18 of the course, while the city owns the others.

Council members have talked about the issue twice during executive sessions in recent weeks, but it appears that the deal was not moving forward.

Several weeks ago, Mr. Lundy and Mr. Simao met with Mr. Mix, Councilwoman Lisa A. Ruggiero and city attorney Robert J. Slye about the proposal.

Mayor Jeffrey M. Smith, who did not attend the meeting, opposes the deal, saying that the proposed price for the city to acquire the property is too high. He would not say how much was being asked for the property, but said that it exceeds the $3.1 million that it cost to build the pool at Thompson Park.

“No way for that price,” he said.

Under the proposal, the deal would end all litigation against the city involving the golf course and it would allow Ives Hill Country Club, which Mr. Simao owns, to reopen.

If the deal can be consummated, Mr. Simao would not pursue future legal action. In recent years, he has kept Ives Hill closed.

Over the years, the golf club has been the source of legal battles with both developers, much of it involving how golf club members have parked on city-owned land at the park.

Mr. Simao also has accused the city of subsidizing the golf club by allowing a below-market lease for the city-owned land used by the golf course.

Most recently, Mr., Lundy became incensed that zoning for the land he owns at the golf club would change under sweeping zoning changes proposed by the city.

Under the proposed changes, Mr. Lundy’s property would be rezoned from residential to open area for park land, thus ending Mr. Lundy’s plans to possibly someday build homes on it.

While he would not talk about selling the land to the city, Mr. Lundy made it known on Thursday night exactly how he feels about the zoning change, which would prohibit his plans to build houses on his property.

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