Golf course/convention center progressing quickly

The Huntsville City Council will make its final choice on the architect to design the new city golf course by March 6, said Bob Hart, city manager. Anticipated completion date is fall 2002. Last Thursday, Hart announced a contest to name the golf course. Officials hope the citys history, long-standing relationship with Sam Houston State University and the topography of the land will be taken into consideration when people make up names for the 18-hole course. Contest forms will be available next week at City Hall, 1212 Ave. M, or on the citys Web site, The course is being built off Interstate 45 West on 154 acres of university-owned land behind Huntsville Memorial Hospital. Twenty more privately-owned acres were bought by the city to complete the necessary acreage. SHSU is leasing the land to Huntsville on a 30-year contract for $40,000 a year. Other benefits to SHSU will be in the form of monetary savings, such as discounted greens fees for faculty, staff and students. Important to the university is the travel time and money that will be saved by having a home golf course for the Bearkat golf team. The team now has to go out-of-town to four different courses, Hart said. City council has started work on plans for a business-class hotel with restaurant and conference center, with a projected completion date of fall 2002. Concord Hospitality Enterprises Co. will handle construction of the hotel. Construction of the world-class conference will be financed by the city of Huntsville. Thirty-six events a year hosted by local organizations or companies are being held outside of Huntsville, representing a large revenue loss to the city, Hart said. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Conference Center and other private homes that have been given to the city do not have the capacity to handle the food or electronic communications needs of large groups. The Walker Education Center, Huntsvilles primary conference space, is continually overbooked, sources said.

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