Normandy Oaks: And the Survey Says...

Should Normandy Oaks remain a nine-hole golf course? Or is there a better use for the green space?

UPDATE, Thursday, 11:59 p.m. And the survey says...

Of the 337 people surveyed  in Patch's unscientific poll, here's what people are saying about Normandy Oaks:

  • 26.11 percent support keeping the Normandy Oaks property a nine-hole golf course
  • 21.96 percent would like to see the green space used for another recreational purpose
  • 47.48 percent are in favor of selling a portion of the property if the revenue is used to realize the city's Recreation Master Plan wish list
  • 4.45 percent have another idea for the land

Tuesday, 8 a.m.: 
On Monday, the Royal Oak City Commission voted to keep Normandy Oaks Golf Course open for the the 2014 while the city explores its options for the green space located on Normandy Road.

The club's operator, Royal Oak Golf, LLC, had an operation loss of more than $96,000 last year, which left city staff recommending closure for the nine-hole public course.

"I think it's tough to make a decision without knowing what we're going to do in the long-term with the course," said Mayor Jim Ellison.

The commission voted to establish a sub committee to study and address the future of Normandy Oaks.

What residents are saying

Royal Oak resident Marc Comptios notes "one of the great things about Normandy Oaks is that it is actually affordable for seniors and young people." 

While Royal Oaker Tom Regan argues that most of the city's residents don't golf and "even more people in Royal Oak don't golf at Normandy Oaks."

"Most people in town aren't getting any enjoyment out of that piece of property right now," Regan said. "So if you repurpose it most of us are going to be happier."

"I definitely don't oppose (selling) it," said Ray Blessman, who lives a wedge shot away from the golf course. "I think the monetizing of the asset could make a lot of sense."

However, Blessman asked the commission for assurances that a study be done to ensure the infrastructure can support any new proposal for the site and that values of homes near the site would not be adversely affected.

What do you think? Take our survey or give us your thoughts in the comments.

Can't see the survey on your smartphone? Click here for a link.
John O'Malley February 18, 2014 at 11:21 AM
Try and keep the golf course until things get better. retired volunteers can help reduce the cost. playing priveleges would entice many of us old timers to help out.
Northwood Mom February 19, 2014 at 06:58 AM
Royal Oak could use a community pool to attract and keep families in Royal Oak. I agree the sight should be a recreational space. That would be an ideal location for a pool and more.
kathleen February 19, 2014 at 07:22 AM
I don't see why a city of this size requires two golf courses, including one tax payer-supported one that is currently deep in the red. Royal Oak is in desperate need of year-round recreational activities that appeal to ALL of its residents, not just the few who golf two or three months during the year. This site would be an excellent fit for a community center that offered aquatic activities, work-out facilities, and expanded recreational classes for all ages.
John Dyer February 19, 2014 at 08:19 AM
I completely agree with Kathleen. I have young kids and use Troy's community center in the winter. I believe the site can repurposed and be a win, win for everyone. The portion along Delemere can be used for commercial that would fit in with the other great small businesses already there. The remainder can be used for residential homes and parks. This would fund the other parks in Royal Oak that desperately need the funding and create a larger tax base to help improve our existing parks.
Todd February 19, 2014 at 08:31 AM
A pool / splash pad and a community center would be a great addition. Use the other half of the land to create a park of soccer fields.
Judy Davids (Editor) February 19, 2014 at 08:40 AM
If you haven't taken the poll, please do. We'll close the poll at 11:59 p.m. Thursday. If you see "Thank you for taking the survey," that means your vote has already been cast. Thanks!
Bob February 19, 2014 at 08:56 AM
I like a hybrid approach of selling a small portion of the course with the majority of the property remaining park land. There is no need for two golf courses in this city.
Debbie Campbell February 19, 2014 at 08:57 AM
Editor Judy—Thanks for this opportunity--- *I offer this as one possibility that careful study and community dialogue may support: At the last plan commission meeting during the discussion about residential development of the former school administration office site on Lexington—members of the plan commission were lamenting that the property would be perfect for additional athletic use/soccer fields—Perhaps the City could swap a portion of Normandy Oaks for the school district property---This would allow soccer fields to be developed where they make the most sense--The school district’s developer in turn could build the 36 homes on a small portion of the golf course property—
Janette Catchpole February 19, 2014 at 09:46 AM
We need to keep our parks and green pieces of property we already have. We are not growing anymore land. We don't need a public pool. I would never vote to approve a pool, housing, or anymore cement. We are not safe in,our neighborhoods with all the traffic that speeds through. There are plenty of spaces in the city that can be turned into a pool area, or recreation area. As afar as housing, building more houses is not going to bring more students to our schools. Young families cannot afford the cost of the large footed houses. Besides they are poorly built. Let's hope we can all make a smart choice.
John Dyer February 19, 2014 at 10:25 AM
Janette, What is your specific suggested use for the land and how do you recommend we support it economically? I am not suggesting to get rid of the green space entirely.
jet February 19, 2014 at 11:05 AM
Janette, worry about affording your poorly built small house.
The Duke of Royal Oak February 19, 2014 at 11:20 AM
Because Normandy Oak's Golf Course has been poorly run and the only time the city leaders bring up Normandy Oaks Golf Course is to SELL! Does not legitimize the city's POOR leadership on this issue. Along with golf in the summer months, cross country skiing in the winter months, with many other winter sports this facility can be successful. Then the city leaders go and spend over $20,000.00 on a city logo! Something is truly wrong with the city leadership!
The Duke of Royal Oak February 19, 2014 at 11:26 AM
I wish there was more than one option to vote on in the survey. I would vote for #1 Keeping the golf course and #2 adding additional events such as cross country skiing, sledding, ice skating,running and jogging, etc the choices are endless! How about a winter festival. There is a water park in Madison Heights if you want that, swimming at the school if you want that. Please think outside the box city commissioners and stop the mentality of SELLING OFF THE CITIZENS PROPERTY!
The Duke of Royal Oak February 19, 2014 at 11:29 AM
If there was better leadership the city leaders could have put on an Olympic themed festival this winter. We do have an Olympian from Royal Oak too.
Pbrzez February 19, 2014 at 12:50 PM
First, thank you commissioners for giving the citizen a little time in making this decision. I am looking forward to the recommendations of the ad hoc committee. I would love to have a recreational facility with gym equipment, lap pool lanes, splash pad ect... But at what cost to the residence? Troy has turned a former high school into a community center. It's a fantastic facility. Go see it. The cost for non residents is $24 per month. What a bargain! Maybe selling only a very small portion of Normandy Oaks would pay for this in our city. The only way I would agree is have accountability where the $$$ would be spent.
Pbrzez February 19, 2014 at 12:56 PM
Duke of RO, yea spending 20,000 on the new city logo was a waste of money....I want the tree back. I also read some where RO police or fire fighters where given the go ahead to spend 40,000 on a ATV ( this is to be used during Arts, beats and eats). Why in the world didn't the city make the promoter of this event rent one for the long week end. Does RO really need this? Wasted $$$$. Please someone correct me if I'm wrong.
Judy Davids (Editor) February 19, 2014 at 01:41 PM
Hey, Pbrez, great question. The Royal Oak City Commission approved the the purchase of a customized Polaris Ranger for the fire department for $28,605.40. I just put in a call to Chief Thomas to get more details and how the vehicle will be used.
Laura Harrison February 19, 2014 at 02:28 PM
I saw a picture of it. It looks like an oversized golfcart with monster tires.
Pbrzez February 19, 2014 at 02:30 PM
Judy, Thank you for the correction! Thank you for your dedication to the Patch!
Bill Shaw February 20, 2014 at 11:09 AM
Hello...you owe $170 million in retirement costs. Any suggestions on how to pay for this? Oh I know...kick the can down the road and let somebody else worry about it...its the Royal Oak way.
Karen Crawford February 20, 2014 at 10:43 PM
Why not make this our version of Central Park? Lots of year round activities of all kinds. Not just athletic but cultural as well. By the way, seems to me that I was once told that that land used to be the city dump. That may present some issues with its future use, too.
Laura Harrison February 21, 2014 at 11:27 AM
Karen, I know that the area on the NE corner of 13 Mile and Coolidge was the city dump, but I am not sure about Normandy. I do know it was pretty marshy and there was constant street and basement flooding problems. Improving the 12 Town drain system in the 90s helped. It is probably a brownfield because of the industrial uses in the area.
Brian February 28, 2014 at 12:18 PM
How about coming up with a creative, low cost solution to join the two 9 hole courses to be a single (normal) 18 hole Royal Oak golfing experience? How about someone on the City Commission take a leadership role in working with Oakland County to make this happen in that Normandy Road railroad track area? I'm not a golfer, but I do know that only having 9 holes is a show stopper for many golfers when making tee times... especially with Rackham and other 18 hole options close by. Plus you'd save on having to staff the second front office at Normandy. Duke: I'd like to see your evidence behind accusations of the GC being poorly run. Running 2 separate 9 hole course has limited appeal and the same base expenses, if not more, than a single 18. If you're pointing fingers at the city and their vision - OK. Otherwise, please source your claim.
Bill Shaw February 28, 2014 at 12:34 PM
Watch it Brian the world will start to feel Royal Oak has somebody who can think! Great idea!!!


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