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Future of Missoula's Larchmont Golf Course discussed

Posted at 8:01 AM, Nov 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-16 10:12:54-05

MISSOULA — Golfers prepared to tee off at the Larchmont Golf Course on Monday but the course could look a little different come the next couple years.

Missoula County commissioners met Monday with engineers and developers to determine the future of the course.

“Really need to take a measured, thoughtful approach to any idea for developing it," said Emily Brock, Missoula County economic and land development director. "Because once it's gone, it's gone forever.”

The WGM group along with BlueLine Development proposed a land exchange with the county.

The developers would give the county a 157-acre plot of land, located off US Highway 93 by the Bitterroot River, to build a new course in exchange for the 152 acre Larchmont Golf Course property.

“The developer would like us to build a golf course in this floodplain area where there can't be any housing and opened up sold," Brock told MTN News. "Larchmont property for affordable and attainable housing.”

The developers aim at providing 2,000 new housing opportunities through a Community Land Trust as Missoula continues to grapple with a housing crisis.

But members of the golf community saying, they don’t like the idea.

“Unanimously we voted to not support the proposal of course,” said Larchmont Golf Course Board of Directors member Brent Harshbarger.

Course manager Bill Gailher said during the meeting that replacing the course is not an option.

“As far as the large Ponce goes on replacing it, I don't think it's a viable option just because of the work it takes and how long it takes to develop and mature a golf course,” Gailher explained.

County officials did not make a formal decision on the proposal, as it was their first meeting discussing the idea. Additionally, there was no talk about the cost of the proposal. However, those taking part in the meeting did agree to come up with a plan on what the proposal might look like.