Airport negotiates for Ponderosa Golf Course |

Airport negotiates for Ponderosa Golf Course

There may be new hope for Truckee’s Ponderosa Golf Course, but its fate is still up in the air.

A deal with the Himsl family, who own the 53-acre golf course, the airport, who would purchase it, and the Truckee Donner Recreation and Park District, who would manage it, has been brought back to life after falling through last fall.

“We should being doing anything and everything possible to manage the course on behalf of the citizens of Truckee,” said Kevin Murphy, chairman of the park district’s board. “It’s a crown jewel in the middle of town and an airport buffer too.”

The board voted Thursday to enter into negotiations to manage the course, should the purchase go through.

Airport General Manager Dave Gotschall said it’s far from a done deal, however.

The airport’s interest is in buying the land to prevent incompatible development, said Assistant General Manager Michael Scott.

“We’re doing the best we can, but it’s not done by a long shot,” Scott said.

But if the deal does go through and all goes according to plan, Gotschall said he’d like to open the golf course on Saturday, June 14 in conjunction with the airport’s 50th anniversary.

Other potential partners include the Town of Truckee and the Truckee Donner Land Trust, he said.

Town Manager Tony Lashbrook said the town’s interest is in conserving the course as a community asset, and to maintain an easement along Brockway Road for a planned bike path.

“The opportunity for three public agencies to work together on a public asset is pretty cool,” Lashbrook said. “We’re all optimistic.”

The Himsl family, owners of Ponderosa for the last 45 years, had decided not to open this summer on their own because it wasn’t making enough money, Robert Himsl said.

“Since really around 2001 the business took a serious downturn ” all golf, not just us,” Himsl said.

He said his family looked for ways to improve the course’s financial picture, like opening a driving range, shrinking the course, or adding development.

In 2006, during the town’s general plan update, he said his family asked for a special study area to explore the possibility of development, but was turned down after many members of the public came out in opposition to any building on the course.

“We had already kept open longer than we should have,” Himsl said. “We ran out of options and couldn’t put more money into it and decided to close.”

In 2007 the airport district proposed to buy the course, but the deal fell through because the airport was restricted as a public agency to offer appraised value.

But Nevada County Supervisor Ted Owens was able to bring all parties back to the table.

“I felt we could strike a balance, this is a wonderfully beneficial deal in the works that has great potential, and a fair chance at success of coming together,” Owens said.

Because the deal is still ongoing, the dollar amount for the deal has not been disclosed.

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