According to County Commissioner Bryan Davis, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) wants out of the golf course business and there’s nothing any officials in Scioto County can do to stop it. “It’s a done deal,” Davis said in response to the comments of a concerned citizen at Thursday’s County Commission meeting.
But a West Portsmouth resident who identified himself as Johnson Battle wasn’t satisfied with that answer or ODNR’s plan to put in a kayak course, zip line, and luxury campgrounds for large RVs on the former site of the golf course.
“That’s just a couple old trailer parks. Where I’m at on this is we can’t get industry in here as it is. We come and let ODNR do a dumb trick like this, how are we gonna attract anything? Who’s gonna come to a trailer park?”
Davis said he understood Battle’s frustration and assured him he was in the majority. “We’ve worked diligently for two years now to communicate the will of the people was that it remain a golf course.” He went on to say that many citizens turned up at local meetings with ODNR to express that opinion. “We have shared it very clearly and very passionately to them that the citizens of Scioto county feel it needs to remain a golf course. 99.9% of the people in that room made it clear.”
Davis said there are five other state-owned golf courses in Ohio and that he’s been told that ODNR wants to get out of the golf course game. He also assured Battle that both the State Representative and State Senator had tried to save the course.
“We can’t stop them. It’s state-owned land. The bottom line is they have decided they want to put in camping, zip-lining, boating, and kayaking. They want to put in fishing piers. They want to fix the gas lines to the marina and make it a functional marina. They’re putting in a $1.2 million sewer plant.” He added that “Those decisions are made by unelected officials and we went all the way to the Governor with no luck.”
Davis said that ODNR had promised to keep them better informed and provided a project manager to have monthly contact with commissioners and keep them updated on the progress of the project.