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City Backs Lions Golf Course Historic Designation

Role in civil rights cited

The Austin City Council threw its weight behind the embattled Lions Municipal Golf Course Thursday, recommending it be listed in the National Registry of Historic Places.

The Austin-American Statesman reports council members voted unanimously to support the Texas Historical Commission in moving forward with the application for registration. The city manages the links, but the land—a now extremely valuable along Lake Austin Boulevard—is owned by the University of Texas System, which has long been eyeing it for redevelopment.

United as a group called Save Muny, neighbors including Masters-winning pro Ben Crenshaw, a current and native Austinite, have opposed the development of the 141-acre parcel of land. The course is part of a larger University-owned area called the Brackenridge Tract; according to the Statesman, the whole tract could $5.5 million/year as a mixed-used development. The university earns only a few hundred dollars a year from its lease with the city, which expires in 2019, the article notes.

Citing the course's history as leader in desegregating Southern golf courses (or some of them) in the 1950s, the city, Save Muny, the Texas Historical Commission advisory committee, and the United States Golf Association have all called for Lions' preservation. The state Historical Commission awarded it a historical marker in 2009.