PROVO — Unforeseen delays have forced city officials to appropriate $500,000 to maintain upkeep on East Bay golf course while they complete a $6.5 million business transaction.

City officials and the developers of the proposed Southgate Center shopping area in Provo's East Bay area hoped to finalize an agreement to turn over 59-acres to Boyer and Co. in March. But it may take longer to iron out all the kinks than either party expected.

"Sometimes there are hoops that have to be jumped through, and things that need to be done," Mayor Lewis Billings said of the situation.

Billings explained that city officials have had to resolve some environmental concerns on the land before any transfers could take place. Historically, he said, the land — generally located at 1860 S. 380 East — had been a landfill dotted by open water areas. As a result, city officials have had to work to mitigate water and landfill issues before turning the land over to Boyer and Co.

Billings said most of the environmental regulations have been met, and added he feels optimistic about the project even though the transaction probably won't be completed by their anticipated deadline.

"Nothing has caused us to feel anything but positive about this," he said.

Lou Swain of Boyer and Co. said they're just crossing all the t's and dotting all the i's before the transfer is finished.

"All the parties here are trying to make it work," he said.

But in the meantime, City Council approved a resolution Tuesday night appropriating $500,000 in the Golf Course Fund for capital improvements to the East Bay golf course.

Billings explained the money would be used to get the course in shape before the start of the season so no one misses out on a tee time when the course opens.

Originally, the city had planned to use money from the $6.5 million transaction to improve the course, including the addition of a signature island green.

"Our goal is to keep 18 holes in play during this entire process," Billings said. The loan will be repaid once the land transfer is completed.

As previously reported, the 59-acre Southgate Center shopping area project is expected to cost a total of $70 million to $75 million. Target has signed a letter of intent to anchor the shopping area with PetSmart, Sports Authority and Circuit City as other tenants. Some city officials anticipate the project will generate an estimated $125 million per year in retail sales.