Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Countryside property lingers on and on and …

Countryside Gals!

Neighbors want to call it “Victory” golf course – reminiscent of the Victory Stadium saga that consumed council elections for ten years. “It sure feels like another deterioration scheme,” said Susan Hall who lives on one of the fairways.

The three-hour open house Tuesday at William Fleming High School was a chance for neighbors to add comments on their respective locations dotting around the defunct golf course. Countryside’s fate was sealed in a city council closed session “show of hands” in February. According to Mayor David Bowers he was the one dissenting hand that day.

Sallie and Larry Fogle purchased their home on the tenth fairway in 2009 shortly after they were assured the golf course was secure. That was when five of seven council members voted to give Countryside a try with an investment of $1.5 million in repairs. The Fogles soon became another victim of council indecision they claim. The course was shutdown just a few months later.

Chris and Doreen Morris with son Conner in a stroller were disappointed with what they saw. They expected something more concrete. The sliced up property sections on boards had mainly possibilities in text on each side. The uses ranged from multi-family, retail, commercial, single-family, swimming pool, walking trails, ball fields, churches, community center, an equestrian jump and golf.

Each resident was given sticky notes for comments. Not surprisingly the majority had “golf course” or “18-hole golf course” plastered on the boards. Several comments said to partner with William Fleming high school and include additional recreational opportunities. One comment said, “it was a complete waste of time.”

Members of council dropped in – all except Mayor David Bowers and Vice-Mayor David Trinkle.

Chris Chittum holds Newbern idea

There was one bright spot. Jess Newbern, III owner of the Trane building on Frontage Road had an idea drawn by architect Ray Craighead. It lay on a table but was spotted and overrun with sticky notes that said “good idea” and a “great start.” On this rendering there was a twelve-hole golf layout.

Sharon Blevins didn’t care for the commercial or open street that would bring Hershberger Road traffic through to Peters Creek. Her street and five others would connect to it per the Newbern plan.

Tom Carr, Director of Planning listened to a “golf rater” associated with a golf magazine for about an hour. He wanted to remain anonymous but lamented over the golf course closing refuting the figures on an easel showing a list of golf courses in the red. He suggested finding “a first-class architect like Tom Doak and hiring him. Bite the bullet and invest some money in the golf course.”

Carr explained that city council charged them with “if not a golf course then what’s plan B.”

The golf course was purchased in 2005 for $4.1 million with Toll Brothers pulling the plug on their interest in development in 2006. Another developer’s plan was rejected in 2007.

Chris Chittum Planning Administrator said they will put all the comments together and present it to city council on September 20 at 2:00 p.m. Council will set the direction for the next round of planning. Execution of any plan depends on the economy and the land could remain dormant for several years.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Community

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Comments (2)

James Skinner

September 1st, 2010 at 9:22 AM    

I have seen the reports that Darlene Burcham had collected on various courses throughout the state for all of the years back to 2004 and EVERYONE OF THEM WERE PROFITABLE INCLUDING COUNTRYSIDE!!!!!! The City Counsel LIES yet again.


September 1st, 2010 at 9:38 AM    

Countryside was NEVER subsidized either James.

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