Canton city golf course in trouble

The Fairways of Canton Golf Club, a 6,600-yard course the City of Canton helped build, is in financial trouble.

"I understand the developer has turned the keys over to the bank," said Mayor Gene Hobgood.

The Canton Building Authority, a quasi-governmental development agency, is paying for the land, and the course was developed and was being operated and maintained by a private company Laurel Canyon Golf. The course adjoins and wraps around part of Laurel Canyon, a private 978-acre development on the north side of the city of about 22,000.

The listed phone number for the course was disconnected.

City Councilman Bob Rush said the course is closed. Homeowners around the course and the city are fearful that a closed, unmaintained course will drag down home prices, then tax valuations, depressing further the city's economy.

Hobgood said he will hold an an informational meeting at city hall at 6 p.m. Tuesday to share information with residents, especially those who live in Laurel Canyon. The deal to put the course together, done by the previous administration, was a complex one involving multiple parties. He and city administrators are gathering information and facts about the city's agreement and the course, which he hopes can be reopened, he said.

"We will be doing everything we can to make sure that happens within financial abilities of city, which is not good at this time," Hobgood said.

Like many cities, Canton is struggling with a depressed budget, which have been exacerbated by the debt of projects built during the boom years such as the golf course, a new community recreation center and infrastructure to accommodate growth.

--Christopher Quinn