RIO RANCHO — Rio Rancho’s golf course might be partially developed, with some of the property allowed “to return to a native and natural state,” similar to the course’s north nine holes, according to city manager Keith Riesberg.
City officials and Josh Skarsgard, owner of Skarsgard Firm in Albuquerque, recently gave presentations about the city’s vacant golf course during a Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority board meeting.
Skarsgard could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.
Mayor Gregg Hull and Riesberg told the Observer that Skarsgard voiced his interest in developing part of the land and enacting a conservation easement on the rest of the golf course area. Skarsgard spoke on behalf of the land’s current owner, Southwest Capital Bank, but no official deal to purchase the property has been made, Hull said.
Following months of unpaid water bills, Club Rio Rancho closed access to its golf course in December. Later that month, manager of Sweet Success LLC and former club owner Jhett Browne relinquished ownership of the clubhouse and golf course to Southwest Capital Bank. A property lien of more than $333,000 for unpaid water and wastewater service had been filed against Club Rio Rancho. If Southwest Capital Bank were to sell the property to Skarsgard or another interested company, the city’s lien would take priority over the purchase.
Skarsgard’s interest in the land, according to Hull, is to develop 30 acres around the clubhouse, as well as a small piece of acreage near High Resort Boulevard. The rest of the land would be under conservation easement and would be considered open space.
“This is going to be something that lasts in perpetuity once the conservation easement has been put down,” Hull said. “As I explained in the meeting, this will be there 200 years from now — your children’s, children’s, children’s children will be dealing with this.”
Riesberg said the intent of Skarsgard’s presentation was to see if SSCAFCA “had interest in being the receiver of that easement” — if so, the flood control authority would authorize negotiations on the easement’s language with Skarsgard.
Until the property is purchased, though, all discussion about the plans are considered preliminary, Riesberg said.