Milford mayor notes city’s interest in Rookery North’s future

The Rookery North recently announced it would be shutting down.

MILFORD — City Council held an extended executive session Monday night seemingly centered on the possibility of the city purchasing The Rookery North golf course, based on comments from Mayor Archie Campbell.

On the agenda, the session was described as “preliminary discussions on site acquisitions for any publicly funded capital improvements, or sales or leases of real property.”

In resuming public session afterward, Mayor Campbell said, “From the executive session, (city manager Mark Whitfield) is going to do some investigating and talking to The Rookery management.”

That comment caused a lighthearted uproar among the council members and other city employees on the Zoom call. Some began to chuckle, and the mayor stopped talking, downplaying his comment.

“We’re not ready to make a comment at this time,” Councilman Todd Culotta said today. “Personally, as a resident, I’d love to see it stay a golf course and stay with the city or not be developed upon.”

Mr. Whitfield and Mayor Campbell were not immediately available for comment.

Late last month, The Rookery announced that the Milford golf course would not remain open into 2021.

“We are saddened that we will not be able to continue to support the course, but it does not make financial sense for our company,” The Rookery’s director of golf Butch Holtzclaw said in an email to some of its membership.

In addition to its original course in Milton, The Rookery has run the Milford location for the last nine years and owned it for the past five.

“During our nine years operating the North course, it has never operated at a profit,” Mr. Holtzclaw said in his email.

The notice upset many in Milford’s golf community. If the course were to close, there would be no options for golfing in the city.

The Rookery North was initially known as the Shawnee Country Club, which was first constructed in the 1950s.

The course has also traditionally been where Milford High School’s golf team practiced.

“It’s been a longtime Milford tradition, golfing there,” said Keith Kendzierski, the team’s coach, upon finding out about the closure. “I’ve seen (social media) posts saying, ‘My kid graduated from Milford. He golfed there.’ There’s a lot of sentimental value, I believe.”

Reach staff writer Noah Zucker at nzucker@newszap.com