Mayor Swapping Buckhead’s Bobby Jones Golf Course to State…For A Parking Deck


The Atlanta City Council concluded their meeting on June 6 with a 12-3 vote to authorize a swap of the Bobby Jones Golf Course to the state of Georgia in exchange for a state-owned parking garage and plaza located at Underground Atlanta. The swap will ensure Atlanta’s plan to sell a financially failing Underground Atlanta to a developer and replace it with apartments, retail shops, a grocery store and various restaurants. City officials and Buckhead residents have varying opinions on the exchange. It’s a complicated matter that may have unintended consequences (both positive and negative). Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean, whose district includes the golf course, was among the three Council members opposed to the land exchange.

Adrean does not plan to let the issue go even though the vote already concluded. She said she would continue to fight for what the community demanded of her. Even with a near 200 people in attendance asking questions about potential financial and environmental impacts the deal could hold, they were still denied their request to hold the vote for two weeks until more answers arose.

Some opposed believe that Atlanta is not protecting its history by giving the historic course to the state. Additionally, they believe that the decision to downsize the golf course from 18-holes to 9-holes and add a a driving range will result in the course not having sufficient income. On the supporting side of the swap, Mayor Kasim Reed, of Atlanta, defended the decision to give the Bobby Jones Golf Course to the state.

“The kind of investments the state will make in Bobby Jones are the kinds of investments the city does not have the financial capacity to make,” Reed said.

According to Reed, the state will invest around $25 million in the course. Reed partially agreed with those who opposed the deal. He supported the their belief that downsizing the golf course was controversial, and said that he will continue to negotiate better terms with the state before closing the deal.

The Memorial Park Master Plan shows the redesign of the Golf course and walking trails in great detail.
The Memorial Park Master Plan shows the redesign of the Golf course and walking trails in great detail. Click to enlarge.

A spokesman for the Bobby Jones family, Marty Elgison, said the family was in support of the swap. The course will continue to be public and include the Bobby Jones Museum and a new addition, the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame. Also, many of the improvements contained in the master plan developed by the Memorial Park Conservancy would be completed by the State.

“With regard to the golf course, the community seems to be split 50-50— some people are excited about a shorter game and the prospects of having a driving range, and some want it to stay exactly as it is,” Adrean concluded.

What are your thoughts? Will the state’s investment in the Bobby Jones Golf Course outweigh the loss of local control?

By Claire Harper for

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