Muny golf course added to National Register of Historic Places

The Lions Municipal Golf Course in West Austin has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. A celebration was held on Saturday with supporters hoping this designation will preserve the course for years to come.

"I feel like today was a beautiful day, a historic day in the battle to save the golf course. The historic designation is big but also getting on the national register is even bigger," Volma Overton Jr., who grew up playing golf at Muny, said.

Muny earned the designation after becoming the South's first desegregated golf course back in 1950. However the course is in the midst of a battle  with the University of Texas on future developments on the course. Mary Arnold has been fighting for over four decades to ensure the beauty of the historic land remains unchanged.

"The actual history of the early desegregation applies to so much more that just saving the greenspace, it saves the history with the greenspace," Arnold, a member of the Save Muny Committee, said.

UT leased the land Muny sits on to the city and it is set to expire in 2019. Save Muny Supporters said the land would cost the city more than $250 million to buy. While there are some who are hopeful a deal can be reached.

"My sincere hope is that we are going to be able to work something out with the University of Texas that meets their needs but, at the same time, preserves this space," Mayor Steve Adler said.

Others want to know why U.T. would consider tearing down a beacon of racial unity.

"With all the things UT has done in the past, I mean they have spent millions of dollars in fighting civil rights issues." Overton Jr., said. "If (the University of Texas)  would go back and look at all the money they spent at fighting issues of racial justice, they've been on the wrong side. I'd like to have some of that money. Maybe that money they spent over the years could help pay for this golf course."

FOX 7 reached out to the University of Texas regarding the course's racial achievements and the future of the land. A spokesperson responded saying:

"We recognize the significant role that Muny played in the civil rights history of our nation and we are proud to be at today's ceremony. Diversity and inclusion have been and remains one of our highest priorities at UT. Last year we went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to successfully defend the use of race in admissions. No decisions have been made on the land. We are in the process of exploring options and the civil rights history and designation will be part of that process."

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