Oshkosh Corp. considers golf course location

Golfer on Lakeshore Golf Course in Oshkosh on September 6, 2017                  (WLUK/FOX 11 News)

OSHKOSH (WLUK) -- A city-owned golf course in Oshkosh may be the new home for a large employer in the community.

Oshkosh Corporation is looking to build a new headquarters. The city manager has suggested the company build on Lakeshore Golf Course, but others say, it's a bad idea.

Golfers told us Wednesday the municipal Lakeshore Golf Course is a jewel in Oshkosh.

"It's a great golf course. It's the cheapest one around and, I'd argue, the highest quality. It's great for the youth and seniors," said Brett Spangler who created a Facebook group called 'Save Oshkosh's Public Land' to fight the course's possible sale.

"It just sets a precedent being able to sell public land to anyone who wants it," Spangler told FOX 11 News.

But the city IS considering selling part of Lakeshore and Oshkosh Corporation is considering buying it.

"They're not looking for the best site in Oshkosh. They're looking for the best site anywhere in the country," explained City manager Mark Rohloff who told us Lakeshore is the most attractive site to keep the corporate headquarters in Oshkosh.

"Access. They're gonna be looking for visibility and a site that is gonna be large enough to accommodate their needs for a growing work force," he said.

A spokesperson for Oshkosh Corporation gave us this statement in response to questions about this story: "Oshkosh Corporation is exploring the opportunity for a new corporate headquarters that aligns with our People First culture, allow us to operate more efficiently, continue to attract top talent and remain an important contributor in the community. We have issued Letters of Interest and Access Agreements for several properties and are reviewing the benefits of each potential location in coordination with local and state officials. We are in the early stages of a long evaluation and planning process. We are committed to doing what is best for the Oshkosh Corporation family, our customers, our shareholders and our community."

Rohloff told FOX 11 Oshkosh Corporation would only need about 30 of the 107 acres of the course. So, he says, the other acreage could still be used for public recreation, just not golf.

"Can we add river walks? Can we add fishing piers? Can you add more ball diamonds?" he said.

"I'd just be worried, because number one, turning it into anything else would cost taxpayer dollars to convert it," Spangler pointed out.

Rohloff said if Oshkosh Corporation's corporate headquarters leaves, that could devastate the city. He told us, the company's production could follow.

"You're talking millions and millions of dollars," said Rohloff.

"There's so much other land out there. So I just don't think we need to resort to selling the golf course first," said Spangler.

Rohloff told FOX 11 Oshkosh Corporation will likely start soil-testing on the golf course within the next few weeks. After that any possible plan for the company to buy part of the golf course would need to be approved by the full city council.

He says people will still be able to play golf thru this fall.

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