Golf season to construction season: Groundbreaking slated next week for Little Crow Country Club project

Little Crow

NEW LONDON—When the golfing season ends next week at the Little Crow Country Club, the construction season will begin.

A $7.8 million project will change the face of the popular New London area golf course and put it at a new level in the recreation and hospitality realm.

Groundbreaking for the project—which includes a 51-room GrandStay hotel with swimming pool, 300-seat event center with a west vista of the golf course, and new 75-seat restaurant, pro shop, driving range and parking lot—will be at 4 p.m. Oct. 25.

Construction will take place all winter, with plans to have all the facilities open and operating by mid-May.

“It’s going to be amazing once it’s done,” said Dean Lindquist, a member of the Little Crow Country Club’s redevelopment committee that was charged with conducting due diligence on the project for the club’s members.

“It’s really an exciting time for us,” he said.

In the works for more than two years, the deal was legally sealed earlier this month during a daylong closing process between the country club, which will own the pro shop and restaurant, and Glacial Ridge Hospitality, which will own the hotel and event center.

The complex project included involvement from nearly 30 entities—including local investors, bankers, attorneys, school and county officials who approved tax abatements, a long list of local and state government agencies, architects and contractors who all had to agree on the project.

“It’s really been a team effort through this whole process,” Lindquist said.

Initially, the facilities were to be completed early this year. Lindquist said the wait was worth it.

The longer timeframe helped the committee explore every angle to determine if it would be financially feasible and in the best interest of the members of Little Crow, he said.

“We’ve looked at everything,” Lindquist said. “I believe now we have a good product.”

During the five-hour “marathon” closing process, there was some “haggling back and forth” to resolve issues that left all parties mostly happy yet a little disappointed, which Lindquist said counted as a “win-win” for everyone.

Lindquist said the hotel and event center will have a “symbiotic relationship” with Little Crow that is expected to bring new businesses and new people to the region.

It’s expected that people using the hotel and event center for wedding receptions and conferences will also take time to golf and eat at the restaurant, he said.

Likewise, people may choose the hotel and event center for their events because there is a golf course and restaurant there. Local caterers will be engaged for large events.

“It’ll really bring groups we’ve never had before now that we’ll have the 300-seat event center,” said Eric Hildreth, Little Crow manager.

“It’ll put us on the map here in west central Minnesota and we’ll draw some people out from the Twin Cities to come play golf,” Hildreth said.

Construction is expected to move quickly after the groundbreaking. The goal is to be done in time for the Governor’s Fishing Opener in May, which is being hosted on nearby Green Lake.

Trees have already been removed and dirt that was removed from the New London-Spicer School construction project and stockpiled on the edge of the course will be used as fill to raise elevation.

Staff and volunteers from the West Central Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore in Willmar were salvaging construction materials Monday from the existing restaurant and pro shop, which will be demolished shortly after the groundbreaking.

“We’re trying to salvage everything we can,” said Kerrie Wig, a ReStore employee.

Some have questioned the need for another new hotel in northern Kandiyohi County so soon after a 51-room Hampton Inn opened in Spicer, just four miles down the road.

But Lindquist said the neighboring facilities will complement each other and will help “fill a void” in the hospitality venue, especially as the number of resorts continues to decrease in the county.

West Central Tribune by Carolyn Lange

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