March 30, 2017
Dear Saddlebrook Homeowners and Friends,
As you know, Saddlebrook Golf Course went up for auction last March. First Financial Bank (FFB) bought the course at auction and has been trying to sell the land ever since. A four-person committee of concerned Saddlebrook homeowners has worked hard over the past year to find a buyer for the 135 acres who will keep the land as a golf course, instead of allowing the land to go to a developer. As the committee met with interested golf course operators, it became evident that there was no way for any buyer to pay FFB’s asking price, restore the course, and be able to operate it successfully. One by one, golf course buyers walked away. Meanwhile, the course continued to deteriorate, was vandalized, and now needs major work and money to restore it to playability. The committee realized some incentive was needed for any golf course buyer to help defray the cost of restoration.
After a long search, Indiana-based Green Golf Partners (GGP) has emerged as the best partner willing to buy Saddlebrook – and has signed a purchase agreement with FFB. However, the deal only makes good business sense if our community is willing to have some skin in the game. Before they close the deal, GGP needs our help with the $300,000 capital investment it will take to restore the course and clubhouse. To be clear, this is a one-time investment to be used only for restoration costs and NOT toward the course purchase or operating expenses.
A committed and ethically guided Capital Campaign Committee, made up of Saddlebrook homeowners and nearby neighbors, is working hard on your behalf to spearhead this fundraising effort. The 22 committee members have stepped up already with their pledges totaling over $34,000! We are confident our fellow Saddlebrook homeowners and friends in surrounding neighborhoods will agree Saddlebrook is worth the investment to preserve as a golf course community.
We are asking Saddlebrook homeowners to contribute $1,000. We know that not every homeowner can give at that level, and there are homeowners in our surrounding neighborhoods who care deeply what happens to Saddlebrook and want to contribute at some level as well. We hope everyone will give as they are able, because 100% participation will get us to our goal! GGP has put together a generous incentive program, offering discounted golf, merchandise, food and beverage for those who contribute at a leadership level. There will also be homeowner discounts and membership plans in the future.
Included with this letter is a pledge card and a list of Frequently Asked Questions. In April, campaign volunteers will be reaching out to you personally to answer questions and collect signed pledge cards. You will easily be able to identify these neighbors by the bright green nametags they wear. Contributions will be made to Friends of Saddlebrook LLC, a corporation formed for this campaign, and your donation will be returned to you if the sale falls through. We need ALL pledge commitments by April 28 as GGP will complete their due diligence and finalize their purchase. Contributions can be made at the time of your pledge or later – before November 30.
We understand you may still have questions you’d like to discuss with the Campaign Committee. Join us for our “CHIP IN for Saddlebrook” event 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 8 at the golf course parking lot, 5516 Arabian Run. It will be an opportunity for you and your family to enjoy FUN activities, get more information, and turn in signed pledge cards. There will also be a Saddlebrook Town Hall meeting at 7 p.m. April 20, and GGP will be there.
We all benefit from living in or near a golf course community. Investing to save our golf course is an investment in the future value and safety of our community. The simple truth is: this is our last chance to save this 18-hole gem and preserve the integrity of our neighborhoods – there are NO other options! Now, we need everyone to pull together as a community to reach our goal!
Thank you for your support!
The Capital Campaign Committee