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Future Of Wingpointe May Depend On Federal Regulators

The future of Salt Lake City’s recently shuttered Wingpointe Golf Course is unclear. But efforts to reopen the course will likely depend on the outcome of negotiations with the federal government.  

Last fall, the city council turned over the Wingpointe property to the Salt Lake International Airport. The council had already determined the city’s golf fund was losing money, and the Federal Aviation Administration had ordered the city to begin paying fair-market value for the property, rather than the $1 per-year rent it had been paying.

Airport Spokeswoman Nancy Volmer said the airport couldn’t afford to run the golf course either.  

“We were prepared to assume the responsibility to maintain Wingpointe,” Volmer said. “However we really weren’t in the position to assume financial losses of the operation of the golf course.”

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski has asked the council to set aside roughly $60,000 in the upcoming budget to maintain the Wingpointe greens while her office studies the possibility of reopening the course. Biskupski’s Chief of Staff Patrick Leary said it’s worth exploring how the FAA came to the conclusion that the city would have to pay fair market value for the property and if they would reconsider. He said members of Utah’s congressional delegation may be willing to help with those conversations. City Council members are divided on the issue, but Leary said the council has looked at the issue through the lens of making the golf fund sustainable.

“The lens we’re going to be looking at it from is from the economic engine that is the airport itself,” Leary said. “Is this an amenity or an asset to the airport itself or the 22 million travelers who go through that airport every year?”

The next public hearing for the 2016-2017 budget is May 24th. Nancy Volmer says airport officials have requested a meeting with the FAA. 

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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