DETROIT (WWJ) – The abandoned New Rogell Golf Course in northwest Detroit may become the city’s next park.
The City Council is being asked to okay the purchase of the 120-acre property, which has been left to waste along Lahser and 7 Mile roads. The $1.94 million acquisition would let the city turn the blighted golf course into a public park that would draw new development in surrounding neighborhoods and improve storm water management for a part of the city that gets a fair share of flooding.
Purchase of the land would be made possible through existing federal funding.
Greater Grace Temple owns the golf course, which they’ve been trying to sell for roughly five years after the city’s zoning board turned down a request to re-zone the property to be used as a cemetery.
In turning down the church’s request to sell the 120-acre, 18-hole golf course to the Detroit Memorial Park Association, the zoning board said converting the recreational land into a burial ground wouldn’t be in the city’s best interest.
Rogell became one of six African-American owned golf courses in the nation when the church bought it from Detroit for $2.5 million in 2007. The church closed the golf course in May 2013, saying the operation had never been profitable. Bishop Charles Ellis III said they had been spending up to $100,000 annually just to keep the course open.
Prior to being shut down, the golf course was one of the city’s oldest links. It was founded in 1914 by philanthropist Max Fisher and other prominent business leaders.