Normandy Oaks: To Sell or Not to Sell

"The 'never sell any green space no matter what crowd' are sadly missing what could be a much better bigger picture for Royal Oak." - Clyde Esbri, Royal Oak

Troy Aquatic Center Credit: Patch File Photo
Troy Aquatic Center Credit: Patch File Photo
The following letter was sent to Patch by Clyde Esbri of Royal Oak.

I've been watching with great interest the debate as to whether or not Royal Oak should consider selling Normandy Oaks Golf Course.

[Read: Fate of Normandy Oaks Golf Course Discussed: Close It? Sell It?]

The "Never sell any green space no matter what crowd" are sadly missing what could be a much better bigger picture for Royal Oak. I believe, if done correctly, selling Normandy Oaks could be one of the best moves this city commission could make.

I do not care whether or not golf is or isn't a dying sport. I do care however, what type of amenities will be used by the largest amount of Royal Oak residents. I took a quick on line-glance at Troy's Civic Center and I see they offer at their facility - a 7,500 square foot fitness center, two gyms, indoor aquatics, four studios for dance, yoga etc, locker rooms, child care, a game room and that is just the indoor portion. Outside they offer jogging/walking paths, skate park, shuffleboard, a playground and a picnic shelter.

I'm sure I've missed a few things as well.

My point is, I don't need a survey to tell me that far more residents will collectively use all of these types of amenities than those residents who use a not-so-great golf course. I submit that if selling Normandy Oaks and dedicating those funds ($14-18 million dollars per City Manager Johnson) can lead can lead to Royal Oak re-imagining its central park to include an amenity filled civic center/splash park for all to use, while at the same time reinvigorating many of Royal Oak's remaining parks, then we ought to explore it.

Clyde Esbri
Royal Oak
resident January 20, 2014 at 08:28 PM
I agree with Mr. Esbri, a center with a outdoor pool would be a huge selling point for further families to come and stay in Royal Oak. A smaller 9 hole course could be a part of revamping the area. The biggest issue would be long term management of the facility. This can be done as a membership or going to the public and having a yearly fee added to summer taxes.
Todd January 21, 2014 at 07:20 AM
I've commented in the past about this location for a pool. It's land Royal Oak already owns. Would also like to see some 'Nice' soccer fields on the other end. Think it would be great if someday we could host a soccer tournament. Would be great for the city.
Judy Gates January 21, 2014 at 08:25 AM
Beautifully stated! Totally agree! This property would be awesome as a splash park and community fitness center! I am not opposed to a "membership" fee being implemented!
Tom McCullough January 21, 2014 at 08:58 AM
Mr. Esbri is certainly on to something. I drive by Normandy Oaks regularly and I am always (I was going to say "often" but it really is "always") disappointed by this pitifully underused facility. I'm a golfer who has played courses of every quality level all over the world and I've never played a course as uninspiring as Normandy Oaks. If any other use for this property could better (more democratically) serve the needs of our Royal Oak community, I'm for it.
Theodore Page January 21, 2014 at 09:43 AM
Hey Clyde! I appreciate your position on this. As much as I am against selling our parks off I would not be against a new 'public' purpose for green spaces. Selling the land and losing control over its use would concern me. Having it turn into a grocery store or a condo complex isn't what I would hope for. Of course if I had my druthers we would get Joe Spatafore from the Royal Oak Golf Club to expand the course into 18 holes and make this the North nine!
Cherie Thomas January 21, 2014 at 09:47 AM
Agree100%!! A community center with a pool, fitness center, soccer fields, etc. would be a great addition to our city. My sons swim team uses the outdoor pool at the Southfield Civic Center in the summer and I remember the 1st time we swam there thinking, why doesnt Royal Oak have something like this?? In addition to the pool, they have an ice rink, tennis courts, baseball fields ( yes, more than one), shuffle board, racquet ball, several picnic areas, volleyball, kiddie park, walking trails, nature area. Royal Oak residents would be better served by a community center then a golf course used by few.
Matt Turner January 21, 2014 at 09:47 AM
If the city cannot afford to run a golf course, what makes people think it can fund a civic center? The city just passed two tax increases for schools and police, do we really want to add on another one?
Mike Ripinski January 21, 2014 at 10:02 AM
There is more to the "big picture" than meets the eye! I agree with Clyde's wish list of amenities but the devil is in the details. Many parts of this have to be thought out and considered. As a member of the Parks & Rec Advisory Board we have discussed this idea on more than one occasion and I will remind everyone this is dedicated park land and cannot be sold without a referendum.
Jeff Knaggs January 21, 2014 at 07:07 PM
I sat back and thought about this, it didn't take long -- between my kids, my dogs, myself, et cetera -- I think that is the only public park, land, building that we have never used. I agree totally with Clyde Esbri!
Bob January 22, 2014 at 09:05 AM
I would rather keep all the parks and eliminate one of the two city owned golf courses. Why do we have two? The cities of Troy and Warren have turned the old Troy High and Warren High into their recreation centers. Would have been nice to have the Dondero Rec Center.
Judy Gates January 22, 2014 at 10:19 AM
Yes we do have 2 pools in the city of Royal Oak! They are "school pools" and are hardly family friendly! Maybe the people making the decisions on this issue can check out the Huntington Woods recreation center, Warren Recreation center and splash park and then there is Troy……I wouldn't mind being charged a yearly membership fee/or daily use fee to use the facility and my kids are now adults!!! Most of these recreation centers impose a fee!


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