Decades ago, when some city leaders got together and decided to sell off nine holes of Hancock Golf Course for commercial purposes, the action triggered consequences still being felt by Austin today. History tells us the decision was driven more by profit than foresight. That experience should serve as a caution against selling off public treasures for the sole purpose of turning a profit.
To that point, we urge the Austin City Council to ignore a proposal to convert Hancock Golf Course, one of Texas’ oldest golf courses, into a subdivision. The Austin parks board rightly rejected it Tuesday, but the council could revive it at any point. As American-Statesman reporter Sarah Coppola reported earlier this week, the council has limited authority in selling public parkland. Such action rightly requires a vote of Austin residents, the true owners of city parks, which include golf courses. That right was confirmed in 1959, when city officials — without a vote of the people — sold Hancock’s nine holes east of Red River Street to make way for a shopping center. A lawsuit nullified the deal until voters passed it in 1962.
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