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Editorial: Purchase could be a matter of course

With the Meadows Golf Course now up for sale, Greenfield Mayor William Martin sees an opening for the town.

“There are so many possibilities. It’s in a flood plain, so there’s not a lot that could be built on the back part of the property, but maybe a dog park, a skate park, a walking and sitting park could be built closer to Deerfield,” he said in a recent story.

“We’d be preserving another green space.”

All of this is true. But what the mayor doesn’t mention is that there’s a downside to this in the loss of tax revenue for the town — and that should be of equal consideration when deciding whether Greenfield should purchase the property.

Here’s what we know: The place, 50 acres on Deerfield Street, has been a golf course for 80 years. A portion of the course borders the Green River, thus the property is within a flood plain, which, as the mayor says, restricts what could be done there in the way of use or redevelopment. Finally, the course itself still is in need of work to rectify the damage done by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.

On the plus side, the course was able to reopen and the building that housed the course’s restaurant was able to operate.

Continuing the building as a private business offers another possibility, should the town acquire the course. The town could separate the acreage into a couple of parcels. This would allow the town to find some valuable uses for parts of the land while still getting some revenue from others.

In this case, however, we don’t think Greenfield has to act in haste. Having the bank find a new owner for the golf course maintains the status quo, one where Greenfield is getting its tax revenue. And if there are no potential buyers immediately on the horizon, town ownership remains a possibility. But we do think that if Greenfield does want to buy it, the community is best served with having a plan in place.

It’s certainly worth investigating and having the town consider what it might do.

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