After heated debate Roanoke City Council agreed 6-1 to move forward with a Request For Proposal to maintain Countryside as an 18-hole golf course. Those present literally stood up for Countryside. Only ONE stood up opposed and it was Hank Bostwick’s sidekick, Chris Berry of chrisberryonthe.net.
Besides myself, speakers included the President of the Senior Tour, Tommy Firebaugh, who spoke representing 130 members which includes members such as “Chip” Woodrum and Board of Supervisors member “Butch” Church.
Also speaking in favor of Countryside Golf Course was the well respected former Director of Athletics at Patrick Henry High School, Woody Deans.
The RFP will be for a minimum of 10 years. It will be put out for a period of 45-60 days per the City Manager, Darlene Burcham. She also reiterated that the current operator Meadowbrook (who may also bid on the operation) would be asked to continue operating the golf course for 8 months until fiscal year end June 30, 2009.
Hank Bostwick’s StarCityHarbinger is again misrepresenting the facts of the meeting: He states that: “A few citizens, including Roanoke Star-Sentinel’s Council reporter Valerie Garner, spoke in support of the golf-course-in-perpetuity motion and noted that decaying infrastructure at the golf club and course need immediate resources from the City coffers.”
As a “surprise” guest at our neighborhood meeting on Monday, Sept. 8th, Mr. Rosen said “he had no problem with Countryside remaining an 18-hole golf course”. Then when asked “in perpetuity” -. Mr. Rosen responded, “YES” looking me straight in the eye. This can be confirmed by Councilwoman Anita Price who was present as well as other neighbors. However, Mr. Rosen contradicted that statement at City Council tonight when he questioned the city attorney – referring to Mr. Lea’s motion that Mr. Lea “meant the premise of the whole motion was to make Countryside a golf course in perpetuity and my understanding to that is no – I am just asking as a matter of law” (he was looking at the city attorney for a response). The City attorney explained (though I am sure Mr. Rosen already knew the answer) that the motion is NOT a contract. Then Mr. Rosen went on to say “I have a lot less issue with that.”
Mr. Lea is right that something else is “cooking” behind the scenes but this blatant contradiction is a much too obvious “red flag.”
This is what I said and is the exact text I read which I gave to the City Clerk:
It was on May 2, 2005, Council voted to take an option to purchase Countryside Golf Course. Here we are over three years later and time is of the essence with the lease ending Oct. 31st and with no RFP yet issued.
The “data and financing“ has been available for all these years.
There is no reason to stall the process any longer and risk the shutdown and eventual decay of the golf course. Decay of city owned property is NOT fiscally responsible. This DELAY is not physically responsible…. stalling leads to suspicion.
We are intelligent citizens.
I will quote a member of C
ouncil’s own words in an email dated 9/22/05 obtained from a FOIA request – that said, “this process is being watched by a large number of people who are intelligent and can determine when they are being involved or left out … trust is a major factor here …let’s do what we have to do to keep that with our citizens.” I have not forgotten those comforting words Mr. Lea and we are still watching and we are still intelligent.
Council had questions at the briefing on Countryside in regard to promotion of the golf course. If you initiate a “google” search of “Countryside Golf Course Roanoke” you will see that what comes up besides the airport hotels that tout it as an amenity for their guests. The results of the search displays the City’s website under Planning – Special Projects which says though stalled that the golf course is still slated for development and the RFP for development is still downloadable. It is no wonder that people say they think the course is closed. I ask Council to have this destructive promotion removed from the City’s website.
I ask Council to consider a ten year operating agreement as the minimum for the City to consider. To really recoup the City’s investment a 20 year lease would be a better. As Ms. Shuck stated at the airport commission meeting 20 years was OK with them as long as there was commitment by this council that the property would be used for golf course fairways. She also stated that golf course fairways was a preferred use by the FAA. Evidently the FAA considers golfers as expendable.
Again, I ask this Council to end this delay today and our anxiety and expediently instruct the City Administration to issue a RFP.
Posted By Valerie Garner
Tags: city_council, Countryside