Five months after Cameron Hills Golf Club closed in King George County, local builders Dave and Kim Weston want to reopen the course and restore the 256-acre property to its former glory—and are seeking help from the county in the process.
“We do want to put Cameron Hills back on the map, bring it back to life, if at all possible,” Dave Weston told the King George Board of Supervisors on Jan. 17. “We simply can’t do it without your help.”
The Westons, who live in King George and build custom homes throughout the Fredericksburg region, are under contract to buy the property, which listed for $950,000.
Christine Singhass, managing broker handling the sale, told the supervisors the Westons face a lot of expenses in getting the course up to par. The greens and fairways need work, and the Westons want to renovate the clubhouse, add a restaurant, pave cart paths and develop non-golfing uses for the property, such as inflatable TV screens so families could watch movies on the course after hours.
“Their vision is quite spectacular,” Singhass said.
Some might say their list of requests is ambitious, too.
The Westons are asking for a county tourism grant of $200,000 and for county officials to speed up the process to award the necessary permits and zoning changes. In addition to course improvements, the Westons want to build 23 luxury houses around the property over the course of several years, in locations that wouldn’t impact views from the fairways. They’d also like personal property taxes, which total about $7,200 annually, waived for three years, the Realtor said.
Ideally, the Westons would like Cameron Hills, King George County’s only golf course, up and running by July 1. Even if the golf course opens by then, the Westons still would miss the first half of the season, Singhass said, adding that annual expenses at a golf course exceed $500,000.
Supervisor Chairwoman Ruby Brabo said the board would be interested in having a conversation with the Westons about the golf course. She asked for a formal list of requests.
Beyond that, Brabo said, she “would love to see it reopened. We all felt the pain of losing our golf course.”
Linwood Thomas, the county’s director of economic development, has worked daily with Singhass on the proposal and said it’s not unusual for businesses to ask for incentives from the county. But often, he said, “negotiations are done behind the scenes, so you don’t really know what companies ask for.”
In separate interviews after the meeting, he and Brabo agreed that the Weston request qualifies for tourism funds, but neither is confident the county would allocate more than half the money in the fund, which totals almost $400,000, for one business. The county established a tourism advisory committee last year and a formal process for requesting funds. Most of the requests granted were for $5,000 or less.
“I don’t know if it would reflect well, if the full board made a decision, circumventing the process,” Brabo said.
She also said that whatever incentives the county gives one business, it will have to be prepared to give others.
But supervisors and county officials, in general, seemed pleased at the thought the course would reopen. Several asked to meet the Westons at the property, off Salem Church Road near Index.
Bill Jones opened the 18-hole championship golf course in 1993, and after his death, the family’s interest in the facility waned.
Until its closing, Cameron Hills hosted up to two dozen tournaments a year for charitable groups.
“It really has been an integral part of the county over the years,” Thomas said.
The King George supervisors probably will discuss the requests from Cameron Hills during a closed session on Feb. 7.