• Rockwood rescue

  • The former Rockwood Golf Club has a new owner, but no definite plans are in place for the property’s use.

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  • The former Rockwood Golf Club has a new owner, but no definite plans are in place for the property’s use.
    A group of local investors, known as Maywood LLC, recently purchased the 91-acre course at 2400 S. Maywood Ave. at an undisclosed price. Ron Bruch, a longtime Independence resident and former Independence School District employee, is a partner and the manager in the LLC.
    “The other investors do not live in Independence, but all of the investors have a long history with Independence, and when it became apparent that the school district was not going to buy that property, they all made a commitment that it would be a good investment,” Bruch said in an interview with The Examiner this week. “Independence had been very good to all of them, and they’re concerned about the rehab of western Independence, and quite frankly, didn’t want to see some outside organization come in and do whatever they wanted.”
    In mid-June, several hundred citizens held a town-hall meeting to suggest ideas for Rockwood’s future. They were concerned about the property’s vulnerability toward incompatible uses, including Section 8 housing, or that the property wouldn’t be properly maintained and would become blighted. The Independence School District had expressed interest in possibly purchasing the land, but Maywood LLC ultimately bought it – it had recently been listed for $575,000, but Bruch wouldn’t comment on the final sale price.
    The immediate goal, Bruch said, is to properly maintain the grounds, which includes clearing dead trees and removing the broken fence along Hardy Avenue.
    “That’s probably difficult for people to understand,” he said of purchasing a property with no definite plans for it. “The economy needs to stabilize. We want to cooperate with the school district, in the event the school district needs additional land in the future for an elementary site – they’ve indicated that’s a possibility, but it’s certainly not definitive.”
    Bruch has a meeting scheduled today with District 4 Council Member Eileen Weir, Mayor Don Reimal and the Community Development Department to discuss the best short-term and long-range use of the land. Bruch added that opportunities will be available for all citizens in the future, not just neighbors of the property, to voice their concerns and viewpoints.
    “I think the critical thing is that there are no definitive plans,” Bruch said. “We just plan to take our time.”
    Weir, whose district includes Rockwood, was driving near the golf course Saturday when she saw Bruch cleaning up part of the property. Weir said she is satisfied for the time being that the property is secured.
    “People might be curious with buying a property with no real plans, but I think he recognized it was vulnerable and stepped up,” Weir said of Bruch. “I’m very pleased that it’s in his hands because he’s certainly somebody who has been involved in Independence for a long time and on many different fronts. I’m very happy that it’s somebody who is a local person and has local interests in mind.”

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