Forsyth County commissioners looking for a clear answer on what to do with the Lanier Golf Course received little guidance Tuesday from local Democrats.
Democrats responded to a question on Tuesday’s ballot asking if the county should purchase the golf course to be operated as a public golf facility. The question did not appear on Forsyth County Republican ballots.
The response was about 51 percent against the purchase, or 646 votes, and about 49 percent, or 630, in favor.
Commissioner Jim Boff said the result just "shows that there’s quite a divide of what people think should be done about it."
"It’s been for a long time a contentious issue, and it remains a contentious issue," said Boff, whose district includes the course.
The issue of what to do with 172-acre tract off Buford Dam Road in east Forsyth has simmered since a proposal for the county to purchase it surfaced this winter.
Commissioners have not made a decision on the plan, which calls for the county to buy the site for $12 million and then lease it for 99 years to a company that would maintain and operate it as a golf course.
Tuesday’s results were quite different than those in 2008, when the question was first posed on the Democratic ballot.
The 2008 question asked if the county should take over the course through the green space bond and operate it as a public facility.
About 1,078, or nearly 75 percent, of Democratic voters supported that idea.
Ricia Maxie, chairwoman of the local Democratic party, said the change in the economy since 2008 likely played a key role in the swing of support.
"It really doesn’t surprise me much that it shifted that dramatically because of the economy right now," she said.
While Republicans didn’t get to respond to the question, Maxie said she thinks the results would be similar. She called the purchase a community issue, not a party one.
"I don’t know how much it’s going to help the commissioners simply because it was so close," she said of her party’s vote.
"The Democratic Party was simply hoping to give the commissioners another tool to work with, but now they’re simply going to have to continue to do what they’re doing and that is to investigate all options."