July 29, 2002 11:00 pm

The community of Union and its leaders had a great idea a few years ago when a bond was passed to build an 18-hole golf course. Unfortunately for the community and those leaders, a number of circumstances took place that made the success of the golf course virtually impossible. The result was that the survival of what was to became known as Buffalo Peak became precarious at best.

THIS PAST WEEK, after months of discussions and negotiations, county officials signed a state loan to purchase Buffalo Peak from the bondholder, Eaton-Vance. When City of Union officials floated the bond a few years ago in order to get the money necessary to build the course, Eaton-Vance purchased the bonds with the hope of recouping their money and interest over many years. As part of the agreement to purchase the golf course from Eaton-Vance, Union County officials convinced Eaton-Vance to lower the price from the $2.8 million that was owed on the bonds to $1.8 million. That in itself is an incredible savings. This should make it much easier for the county to eventually pay off the 15-year loan with the state and perhaps provide some money to make improvements at the course such as paving the cart paths and building a permanent club house.

We applaud the county and the City of Union for working together to make sure the ownership of Buffalo Peak remains in the hands of local citizens. If the effort had not been made, Buffalo Peak could have ended up in the hands of a company far removed from Union County. Citizens throughout the county should commend the efforts of two Union County employees, Dennis Spray and Marlene Perkins, who ave worked tirelessly on this project. They have spent countless hours making sure ownership remained local and that this wonderful amenity be improved for future generations.

THE COUNTRY SHOULD consider using a local group of marketing and public relations individuals to help create a short and long-term marketing program for the golf course. Currently such a group has been assembled to help come up with marketing ideas for the Blue Mountain Conference Center and Union County Economic Development Corporation. There are numerous individuals within Union County who have years of such experience. Why pay an outside company to market what those who live here know about both the golf course and other county amenities?

We are happy to see the golf course stay in local control. Now let's use local experts to market this wonderful addition to the area.