In 1990, the City of Centerville hired Golf Research Associates to examine market conditions in the region for a new golf course. The firm concluded that the development of a municipal golf course could be fully justified.
At the time, there was a boom in golf course/housing development in the south suburbs of Dayton. Springboro and Miamisburg were building city-owned golf course with upscale housing, while Beavercreek is conducting a feasibility study for a public course. Springboro opened its new Heatherwood course in fall 1991, and Miamisburg will open its PipeStone course in spring 1992.
The city also hired famed golf course designer Gene Bates of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., to design the golf course. The city proceeded to spend about $8 million to buy 469 acres of land between Yankee Street and Paragon Road for the golf course and associated housing development. The land was in Washington Township, and Centerville said at the time it would annex the land to the city. About 200 acres would be devoted to the golf course, while the remaining land would be parceled out for homes. The decision to annex the land set off a court battle with Washington Township that was not resolved until 1992, when the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in Centerville’s favor and the township chose not to fight it any further. Proceeds from the sale of the land for housing development was meant to offset the costs of constructing the golf course, which would include a public clubhouse and rental hall.
Centerville purchased the land with funds from $9 million in 18-month notes. The city planned to pay for golf course construction through a 27-year fixed rate bond for $8 million. In 1994, negotiations started between Centerville and Great Traditions Land and Development Inc. of Cincinnati to buy and develop the land dedicated for housing development. Centerville City Manager Greg Horn said at the time that about 400 to 500 homes in the $185,000 to $500,000 range were expected to be built. Model homes were to be under construction by mid-summer. Lots were to be ready for sale by late summer. Construction of the golf course’s $3.2 million clubhouse was to start around May 1.
Centerville was quite involved in the housing development from the start. The city determined the housing portion would be a Planned Unit Development, or PUD, a housing development not subject to standard zoning requirements for the area. With permission from the local government, a developer establishes criteria that determine the private and common areas and building guidelines. These may include street lighting designs, street width standards, architectural styles, building height standards, land coverage ratios, common area park or amenity requirements. Planned unit developments are often used to cluster homes closer together than would otherwise be allowed by local zoning laws. Governing documents of homeowners associations within PUDs often delegate most of the maintenance responsibilities to the owners, assuming the least amount of responsibility possible. The first housing permits were issued in December 1994. Part of the golf course was opened that same year, and all 18 holes of the original golf course were opened for play in 1995. The golf course grew to 27 holes in 2001 and housing construction has grown to nearly 1,000 dwellings..