State-created Save Muny Historic District to take over concession responsibilities at historic golf course

Lions Municipal Golf Course clubhouse (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Lions Municipal Golf Course clubhouse (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)

Lions Municipal Golf Course clubhouse (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)

While negotiations over the fate of Austin’s historic Lions Municipal Golf Couse continue, the city has agreed to hand food and beverage concession responsibilities over to the state-created Save Muny Historic District.

The contract between Austin and The University of Texas board of regents—the golf course’s landlord—is currently on a month-to-month basis. The city has operated the 141-acre Tarrytown golf course as a public municipal course since 1937. Over the decades the golf course has represented a pressure point between the city and university, which has long leased the space to the city but in recent years has decided to turn the course into a revenue driver, ideally through a sale of the course. Although city officials want to hold onto the course because of its history, they have said the $109.5 million asking price is too high.

Negotiations over the course have been tense. Last year, the state Legislature stepped in to create the Save Muny Historic District, which encompasses almost 12,000 properties around the course. Led by former state Sen. Kirk Watson, the district was set up as a possible tool to help raise money to preserve the course. A private entity led by local golf legend Ben Crenshaw, the Save Muny Conservancy, is also attempting to raise enough money to purchase and preserve the course.

With the fate of the course shrouded under the uncertainty of a month-to-month lease, the city has been hesitant to bring in a long-term vendor for the food and beverage concessions, which is currently served by a temporary food truck behind the clubhouse. City Council on Sept. 17 agreed to have city staff negotiate a handover over of concessions responsibilities to the historic district, who will on its own try to find a vendor.

Mary Arnold, a board member of the historic district, said the group’s takeover of the concessions carries a few benefits. The money made through concessions will not go to the city but specifically toward long-deferred maintenance at the golf course. The district will be allowed to sell Save Muny merchandise through the vendor, something not previously allowed when the city was running concessions. In picking a vendor, Arnold also said the district will be able to act quickly and subvert the city process and requirements in picking the lowest responsible bidder.


Arnold said the district does not have any money. During a Sept. 16 meeting, board members volunteered their own money to pay for the insurance costs of selecting a vendor. The group is aiming to select a vendor in October.

According to city documents, the city will be able to make periodic site checks on the concessions operations once the handover is complete.
By Christopher Neely
Christopher Neely is Community Impact's Austin City Hall reporter. A New Jersey native, Christopher moved to Austin in 2016 following years of community reporting along the Jersey Shore. His bylines have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, USA Today and several other local outlets along the east coast.


MOST RECENT

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said power outages are not expected April 13, while requesting energy conservation. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
UPDATE: ERCOT call for energy conservation ends April 13 without need for power outages

An ERCOT official said "tight" supply and demand conditions arose on the state's electric grid April 13 due to forecasting issues amid planned, seasonal maintenance outages by some power generators.

Photo of hands holding a vaccine vial
After Austin Public Health appointments go unfilled, officials call for new distribution model

On April 12, APH filled 3,400 out of 14,000 available COVID-19 vaccine appointments in a registration window.

Masking continues to be required, with some relaxed circumstances for fully vaccinated residents. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Austin extends COVID-19 health rules through May 18, updates guidance for vaccinated residents

Masking continues to be required, with some relaxed circumstances for fully vaccinated residents.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended health providers pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine April 13. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
State, federal health authorities recommend pause of Johnson & Johnson vaccine after 6 rare, severe blood clots

Hub providers in Dallas, Harris and Travis counties have all announced they will follow the recommendations and pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine wait after receiving their shot at the Delco Activity Center in Northeast Austin on March 13. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
National supply issues with Johnson & Johnson vaccine affect Austin-area shipments

After a manufacturing error ruined 15 million doses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the supply will not increase until the plant in Baltimore is once again allowed to participate in production.

Romeo's Pizza held its Georgetown groundbreaking April 6. (Courtesy Romeo's Pizza)
Romeo's Pizza coming to Georgetown; Vacancy Brewing opens in South Austin and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Photo of a Moderna vaccine vial
Austin Public Health coronavirus vaccine portal opens to all adults April 12

APH will continue outreach efforts to high-priority groups.

Austin Public Health holds a vaccination clinic at the Delco Activity Center in Northeast Austin. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Coronavirus updates from Austin, Travis County; governor bans 'vaccine passports' and more top Central Texas news

Read the most popular business and community news from the past week from Central Texas.

Tavel Bristol-Joseph has started a scholarship fund that will provide $6,000 to two Austin Community College Culinary Arts students and give them opportunity to be mentored by Bristol-Joseph and to stage at one of the Emmer & Rye group's five restaurants. (Courtesy Emmer & Rye)
Austin chef starts scholarship and mentorship program for Austin Community College students

Tavel Bristol-Joseph started the scholarship fund, which will provide $6,000 to two ACC students and give them the opportunity to stage at one of the Emmer & Rye group's five restaurants.

Snow and ice cover the pond on the southeastern side of the Mueller development in East Austin in February. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
After winter storm, Austin puts together a plan for better temporary shelters

The locations, which could be schools, libraries or recreation centers, would be disconnected from traditional infrastructure and be able to sustain operations if the city were to experience widespread power or water outages.

Austin ISD is holding community conversation sessions April 12-May 6. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin ISD community conversation sessions continuing through May 6

The series offers AISD families an opportunity to learn about the district’s strategic plan and ongoing budget planning.