The Stratton family in Orem believes that golf is a family tradition - and that it should stay that way.
Keven and Brent Stratton now run the Cascade Fairways Golf Course at 1313 E. 800 North in Orem. Their father, Herb Stratton, started the golf course in 1966, when he received permission from Orem City to lease the land."My father loved to golf, and he decided to do something about the fact that there wasn't a golf course in Orem," Keven Stratton said. "If they (Herb and his two brothers) hadn't done that, we wouldn't have this golf course today."
It is on this family tradition that the Strattons are taking a stand.
Orem City has given permission to Richard's Development Inc., a firm based in Nevada, to purchase 111 acres of city-owned property, including the 54 acres that Cascade Fairways Golf Course is built on, and turn the area into a research and technology park. The permission, however, was given with the stipulation that Richards will negotiate an agreement with the Strattons about the golf course. That agreement remains at an impasse.
According to Brent, "The impasse (with Orem and Richards Development) is not that they want the proj-ect and we don't, we think it is a good idea.
"We just don't want to sell the lease to the land," he said. They want it to stay in the family.
Orem City Mayor S. Blaine Willes said he thinks that everything can worked out to the satisfaction of all those involved.
"Some are picturing this as a win/
lose situation," Willes said. "I think there is a way to make an agreement and everybody could win."
Keven agrees and, because one of the possible outcomes is an 18-hole golf course, thinks everyone could come out ahead.
"We just need to get together and talk in a reasonable fashion," he said.
Right now, Willes said the city has approved everything for Richards Development to go ahead as soon as they make arrangements with the Strattons.
"But, if they can't work something out, I think we will be back at ground zero, because I am not sure the city could get another major developer to do what Richards has been doing," Willes said.
Keven Stratton said he was the one who invited Richards Development to Orem in the first place.
When the plan was first proposed, another company was planning to buy out the golf course entirely, and there was a lot of opposition from homeowners in the area.
Keven Stratton came up with an idea to surround the proposed technology park with an 18-hole golf course, which would insulate it from the adjoining residential areas.
The company would not accept the idea, so Keven sent a copy of the plan to Richards in early 1990, and they came to Orem to investigate.
"By May 30, 1990, they wanted to buy us out, and that was not the plan," Keven said.
Timothy B. Anderson, attorney for the Strattons, said he thinks the Strattons were just overlooked in the talks between Richards and Orem.
"The Richards project is a good project, but we don't want to make the Strattons give up their family business," Anderson said.
In a letter Anderson sent to Orem City, he said the Strattons want verification of a few items.
The city should acknowledge that the 99-year lease, granted by the city in 1966, is still valid and the Strattons have substantially performed the obligations stated in the lease.
The Strattons said they are willing to talk with Richards Development but they have learned nothing from their inquiries of the organization.
George Richards, CEO of Richards Development, was unavailable for comment.
Anderson wrote, "It would be very poor business practice for the Strattons to enter into any negotiation of their family business, which spans two generations, when little, if anything, is known about the other party."
"Most citizens in this area agree that this is a prime piece of property," Keven said. They don't mind the technology park, though some would rather see it become a new residential area.
"But we are here to protect our interests and the interests of Orem area golfers," he said.
For the Strattons, it all goes back to family heritage.
"I'm not rich, I just make a living," Keven said. "We want people to know that we are open for business and we will not be going anywhere for a long time."