CASPER, Wyo. — Bob King serves as the chairman of Casper’s Planning and Zoning Commission. He previously played a role in the development of the Three Crowns Golf Course on former Amoco oil refinery property in Casper.
King attended the Casper City Council’s Tuesday, July 21 meeting to address a comment made by Councilman Charlie Powell during the council’s July 14 work session.
While the council was discussing a request from the Amoco Reuse Agreement Joint Powers Board (ARAJPB) to allow board members to serve three consecutive terms instead of two, Powell made a point about the development of Three Crowns.
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Powell said he would support the request since he thought the ARAJPB members had requested it unanimously. But he said that he regretted not voicing concerns about the development of a portion of the Amoco property as Three Crowns Golf Course.
“The reason we have a golf course there instead of a baseball complex is because old white guys made this decision and old white guys golf,” Powell said. “And they sold it to us because it was going to make money and it never has.”
“I always regretted that I didn’t speak up during that process.”
King, who formerly served as the chairman of Three Crown’s management committee, said that he thought Powell’s comments were inaccurate.
The Amoco Reuse Agreement Joint Powers Board (ARAJPB) oversee former Amoco oil refinery property in Natrona County. They control the Three Crowns Golf Course, the Platte River Commons, Salt Creek Heights Business Park and the Platte River Commons Business Park.
The board was formed after the Amoco Reuse Agreement was adopted in 1998 to fund and oversee clean-up efforts at the former Amoco refinery property.
“In the original 1998 Community Facilitation Initiative proposal that came out in early 1998, there was no golf course as part of the final recommendation from that committee,” King said. “The idea of a golf course came into the picture and was introduced by Amoco later in 1998 as part of their discussions on the consent decree with the courts and the DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality) and also with the joint powers agreement between the city and the county and Amoco.”
King said that Amoco was “proposing a site that would facilitate their remediation efforts” including soil and water management for the “on-going clean up that would go on out there.”
“Amoco paid for the golf course at that time,” he added.
King said that Three Crowns was “intended to be a part of a business park and to help facilitate and encourage private development on the lands that would be available.”
Advocates of the Three Crowns project included a number of individuals, including women, and community boards, according to King.
“One of [the people] I would view as a primary advocate was Jane Sullivan, our former first lady,” he said. “She, in my opinion, got the whole process started and was a proponent of the development as it moved along throughout the next several years.”
“Another individual who I view as instrumental in getting the project to a successful conclusion was Maggie Murdoch with the University of Wyoming Outreach in Casper. She also served on the original Community Facilitation Initiative committee and she also served on the original Amoco Reuse Agreement Joint Powers Board which was formed in late 1998.”
King continued, “A third individual who I think was very instrumental in moving the project ahead was the late Kathleen Dixon who was on city council. She was your mayor for a couple of times during that time period and she also was a member of the original Amoco Reuse Agreement Joint Powers Board.”
King said that in his opinion, there was “enthusiastic support” from a number of groups as the Three Crowns project grew from its inception in 1998 toward construction in 2002.
He said that he thought there was support from city council, from the Natrona County Commission and groups like the Casper Area Economic Development Alliance. King added that he thought former Casper City Manager Tom Forslund was also a big supporter of the project.
King said that Three Crowns was initially slated to be a nine-hole course, but that Forslund pushed for its expansion to 18-holes.
He concluded by addressing Powell’s comments during the July 14 work session.
“The statement that was made at your work session, I think, was wrong,” King said. “It was misleading, and I think it was disingenuous to all of the people who participated in the ultimate successful reuse of that property and turning it back into a productive part of our community.”
Powell replied after King spoke.
“I won’t take back entirely what [I said in] my statement, but I do appreciate the tremendous work that has been done to rehabilitate that property and that it is a shining example of what can be done with an industrial property and I realize that the efforts were tireless on the part of many people like yourself,” he said. “It would be nothing but a fenced off plot of land in the middle of our city had you and others not stepped forward to do that.”
King replied: “When I was on that original board I was 48 years old and I think I was one of the older members of the group, so I question where the impression [came from] that it was old white men that were involved and then we just got a golf course for our own personal use. I think that was an erroneous perception.”
Three Crowns opened in 2005. Councilman Bob Hopkins noted during the July 14 work session that the golf course has so far not proven to be a profitable venture.
“Right now we have a golf course that loses money,” he said. “It is losing less than it had been so it is headed in the right direction.”
The ARAJPB contracted with Landscapes Golf Management, which is a divison of the company Landscapes Unlimited, to manage the course starting in 2018. The board have expressed enthusiasm about the new management of the course, though Three Crowns, like other golf course, saw setbacks due to COVID-19 this spring.
If you would like to contact members of the Casper City Council regarding this or any other issue, here is their contact information:
Mayor Steve Freel (Ward III, Term expires 1/3/23):
- (307) 259-1276
Vice Mayor Khrystyn Lutz (Ward I, Term expires 1/3/23):
- (307) 359-3673
Councilman Charlie Powell (Ward II, Term Expires 1/5/21):
- (307) 577-6042
Councilman Shawn Johnson (Ward II, Term expires 1/3/23):
- (307) 337-5057
- (307) 277-7377
Councilman Ken Bates (Ward II, Term expires 1/5/21):
- (307) 473-1247
Councilman Steve Cathey (Ward III, Term Expires 1/5/21):
- (307) 262-8237
Councilman Bob Hopkins (Ward I, Term expires 1/5/21):
- (307) 472-1837
Councilman Mike Huber (Ward I, Term expires 1/5/21):
- (307) 266-4188
Councilman Ray Pacheco (Ward III, Term expires 1/3/23):
- (307) 258-1226
Council members can also be reached by mail at: 200 N. David Street, 82601
If you would like to contact members in your specific ward, but don’t know which ward you are in, a map is available at the City of Casper’s website.