Halstead seeking annexation of Wedgewood Golf Course
It's been a number of years since the city of Halstead purchased Wedgewood Golf Course, a nine-hole golf course that sits a little more than 2 miles north and east of the city limits.
The course, first constructed in 1935 with sand greens, was puchased by the city in 1984, opening as a public golf course in 1985.
Throughout the history of the course, it has not been in the city limits — something that the city is attempting to change.
"We are attempting to annex it to streamline things when there is an issue at the golf course," said Ethan Reimer, city manager for the city of Halstead. "Even though it is city property, it is out in the county."
Reimer said that can create law enforcement issues.
"If something happens out there that puts it under the sheriff's office jurisdiction. We have never had an issue working with the sheriff's department," Reimer said. "When there are minor things like vandalism or that, we would hate to bog down district court with those kinds of issues. We would like the ability to run those things through muncipal court, and we can't unless it is in city limits."
The city wants to eliminate gray areas for law enforcement.
And the city wants to recover some taxes collected at the course.
"Right now all of that goes to the county," Reimer said. "The personal property that is out there, right now that all goes to the county and we would like some of that back since we are paying to operate that course."
This is not the first time such an action has been attempted.
"The city did have discussion years ago, a decade plus, of annexing the golf course," Reimer said. "At the time, there may have been discussion of housing go up out there or something of that nature. That is not the case this time."
Those actions were remembered by members of the Harvey County Commission, and that there were neighbors who were not in favor of that annexation.
The county commission reviewed the current resolution for annexation at its most recent meeting but tabled action.
"There is some opposition to this, I am sure," said Commissioner Chip Westfall.
The documentation contained a clerical error, stating that proposed annexation was congruent with current city boundaries. The course is not and would create an "island."
"This is an island, and it does require the approval of the county," Westfall said.
That means there must be some fact-finding by the county commission before the annexation can be approved. The city of Halstead has had the property resurveyed to ensure only property currently owned by the city is part of the request.
"That way we know we are not encroaching on any of the area farmers or residents and their land with our request," Reimer said. "We just want what has been city property for many, many years to be in our city limits."
Reimer said that two "consentual annexations" were created for consideration by the Halstead City Council at the same time, and some incorrect language was copied from one document to the next. Remier said that error will be fixed at the next Halstead City Council meeting.
"There is no hidden agenda here," Reimer said. "We do not have plans to try and do housing or anything like that our there. The costs for infrastructure are prohibitive. We are developing within our corporate city limits. This is a unique recreational use of city owned property. We just think that it would be best to make it part of our city limits."
The county commission will take action on the annexation in the future, after the city has corrected the clerical issue in its request.