Wednesday, March 17, 2010

If a poll is taken and nobody sees it what’s the point?

UPDATE to UPDATE: Doug Doughty in an email said he was not annoyed as I had surmised in my phone call to him. The Roanoke Times sports team are advocates (change per Doug Doughty) for Countryside said Doughty. The poll is still available and a link was forwarded here: . My unanswered email to Randy King on March 9 had me a bit “annoyed.” At that time the poll was nowhere to be found.


The Sunday March 7 edition of The Roanoke Times said to go to the Sports Timescast section online and take a poll about Countryside Golf Course. After dozens of emails from The Roanoke Times subscribers I eventually located the hidden poll online and forwarded the link to them.

The question the poll asked if I remember since it has disappeared now along with the results was “Do you think the decision to shutdown the golf course was done secretly (behind closed doors)?”

The last time I looked it was 93% YES (105) and 7% NO (10). Below are comments that on a whim I cut and pasted at some point during the poll. These are not all the comments (see below).

At 2:45 I called Doug Doughty with the Sports Department at The Roanoke Times. I asked for the results of the poll. He was less than receptive to my request – more annoyed so I apologize for outlandish request. If I were not a lady I’d tell you exactly how he reacted.

 Poll Comments :

  • Why did Roanoke City purchase Countryside in the first place if they knew they were not in the Golf Management profession? They never had that intention to run a true city public golf course since they hired back that same company to run the golf course that they just purchased it from??? Beware of the City Council”s motives – they got rid of Big Red, now they need to rid themselves of the rest of the city council! Out of one breath the city preaches the importance of our greenways – Countryside is the “greenway” to the city. Roanoke City Council continuously uses it”s unethical decision making process by misleading citizen”s. For the last couple of years, the green fees paid by golfers were put into the city”s general fund and not directed back into the Countryside”s coffers, hence the golf course appeared unprofitable. I dispise the way our city is runned and the decisions are made on their personal interests and not on what is best for the Citizen”s of Roanoke.

3/7/2010 9:02:28 AM

  • Absolutely! Now anyone in the city that plays golf will have to play in the county.

3/7/2010 9:38:28 AM

  • any thing that roanoke city touches turns to crap. the only thing city council is good at is wasting tax payer money. i don”t know how much council make but they should all be fired, along with that wishy-wash mayor.give the management of a profitable golf course a couple million dollars to do a study, and they may tell you how to make money,not spend it. who will build their dream house on hole # 14,and which holes will that non-profit hospital get?

3/7/2010 11:04:56 AM

  • Darlene Burcham/Brian Townsend set out to give council the worst scenerio. This was Burcham”s last hurrah. She had worked on it with Townsend since before 2002.

3/7/2010 1:53:18 PM

  • Back door from the very beginning. When the city and airport commission duped Meadowbrook into believing they would not have enough land left for a golf course — so they sold it to the city–the city has never been on top of the operations of the property— Countryside is a money maker — council is too wrapped up in “consultant fees” for this and that– 14 mil. for an amphitheater that will never break even –50 mil. for a water park in a flood zone— and a golf course that is just that a golf course– not a shopping mall or 300,000 homes — built on a flood zone, asbestos, sink holes, airport right of ways — sewage backups onto the golf course — NOT SMART

3/7/2010 2:40:50 PM


3/7/2010 3:04:40 PM

  • Feet were dragged for years and years.

3/7/2010 3:04:49 PM

  • I can”t wait to see who Housing Authority will “give” the land to along with tax breaks in exchange for a few “low income” (a.k.a. over $30,000 income range) apartments. Business as usual

3/7/2010 3:17:24 PM

  • Don”t worry, Dave Trinkle and his FAT Cat friends will buy the land like he did for the Med. ctr and he will make more money. I think we shouls recall the entire city council with the only exception being the Mayor.

3/7/2010 4:29:39 PM

  • Roanoke City has done it again. Close the course so no revenue comes in, devalue property surrounding the course, and you have the audacity to think the public does not realize you have been behind closed doors making a deal with someone! This is the Victory Stadium debacle revisited. City Council needs to take some lessons from Salem on how to manage a civic center, a stadium and a golf course. Shame on you, Roanoke City Council!!

3/7/2010 4:42:10 PM

  • This is the norm for the city of Roanoke!Who can we trust to have someone looking out for the city? It sure isn”t the good old boys club of city council!Roanoke will be losing one of the best assets that is already in place to only destroy it like victory stadium. We do not need more parks and greenways to put out more tax paying money…we have a golf course that could serve the same if managed right

3/7/2010 4:50:35 PM

  • Looks like City Council is taking lessons from Congress, backroom door deals and paying off anyone who disagrees. City Council, do the city of Roanoke a favor and resign. LET PEOPLE WHO KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING RUN THE CITY!!!

3/7/2010 5:04:16 PM

  • The city council are idiots for buying the land in the first place. This course is a gold mine if the right owners would come in and spend some money to upgrade. When you have such a good layout for a course and a company comes in to upgrade the course would make a lot of revenue due to the proximity of the population center. Shame on the city council for screwing with many property owners with a hairbrained idea that has so far blown up in your idiotic faces.

3/7/2010 6:13:18 PM

  • When the city brought the property they saw a profit but did not do the research to see how much it costs to maintain a golf course. As of today golfers are are still playing golf for FREE while the city is NOW making no profit. City council will sit and wait for 6 months to see what happens. After paying $9 million to acquire the golf course maybe they can turn around and make a profit by selling it for $2.2 million and keep it a golf course.Sound familiar?? But if city council wants me and my fellow golfers to give $revenue$ to surrounding competitors then so be it!! NC has some beautfiful golf courses and our wives enjoys the shopping as well. Which means more $$ for NC less $ for Roanoke City and we don”t mind the drive. I hope council will reconsider even though it is a done deal. We played at Countryside 4 times a week but now it looks like a Friday – Sunday golf getaway.

3/7/2010 6:52:51 PM

  • Roanoke is well known for screwing up different things that could have helped the City and its citizens, Country Side a great example

3/7/2010 7:20:31 PM

  • What, another white elephant for city council? They can”t seem to do anything worthwhile.

3/7/2010 7:29:04 PM

  • Roanoke”s government is a joke!

3/7/2010 8:00:51 PM

  • Apparently you didn”t really want anyone to participate in your poll because I couldn”t find it and had to get a computer guru to send me the link. Back-door deals on Countryside have been going on for years but I never thought Council would totally close it without a full plan first. But then, Council has never had a plan for what they attempt to do.

3/7/2010 8:07:18 PM

  • bad thing is that council will never ever read the comments because they don”t give a ___ what the people that voted for them care about!

3/7/2010 8:07:32 PM

  • Yes, all public statements said they were going to resign the contract w/ Meadowbrook until the last minute. I feel like this is a wonderful way to burn 4 million dollars of tax money while raising costs to the city on loan interest and maintenance costs. Not to mention lower city income by lowering resident property values. Brilliant…

3/7/2010 8:54:01 PM

  • the only way to recoup your money is to make improvements and re-open.

3/7/2010 8:57:47 PM

  • this will turn into more low rent housing that will be abused by the residents and require city repairs every 10 years…..what a waste of a great golf course!!!

3/7/2010 9:25:19 PM

  • Keep Countryside!!!

3/7/2010 9:57:22 PM

  • Keep it open. Don0t let the land run down.

3/7/2010 10:13:41 PM

  • Countryside Golf Course – Born in “the sixties” for sport and a hope to unite a racially segregated city with golf, the gentleman and gentlewoman’s game. What better way to unite races than with fun, twas thought — and the idea continued on and grew–and houses became abundant; homes flourished, until there was no more room to grow around those breathe-taking eighteen holes. All races from ALL OVER this nation came – to unite and live in harmony and beauty …until that fateful day five years ago when Roanoke City bought it, and eventually killed it on February 20, 2010. A thoughtless, ill-managed city, “… we’ve got to cut our loses…” they said, spending over $400,000 annually for interest – yet charging less than $20,000 yearly to the operator (with 20-25,000 golfers per annum at $30.00 a round)…could Roanoke City Parks & Recreation have run it at a debt paying profit? No one will ever know. One and one-half million dollars “better spent on schools,” they said…isn’t that money ear-marked for an engineering study for the amphitheater? Who knows? The Countryside Neighborhood, a virtual model for learning how to live in racial harmony, was given no consideration at all. No, we were just given a forceful slap by the media (after all, we are – just – you know —Northwest) to snap us back to reality. Burial was March 1, 2010 —-Oh, wasn’t that the day Darlene went away, and the new city manager took over? What a going away present – closing Countryside — her most cherished goal! Back door deal…you bet!

3/7/2010 10:26:52 PM

  • It was a stupid idea.

3/7/2010 10:52:22 PM

  • The city planned to close Countryside from the day it was purchased. Countryside is a beautiful course that needs very little to bring back to a first class course that many golfers would go out of their way to play. How much would it cost to build such a nice course today? It is already there and could be a great asset to the whole valley if the City could only see past their nose. Take a look at Greensboro and how it has prospered while Roanoke becomes a place people are leaving. Sell the club or at least try and work with Roanoke County,Salem and anyone else that may join in to keep a great place for people to meet and have good times. My guess is more people would use Countryside than visit the new art center which is a beautiful building but looks like lipstick on a pig in the place it is built. If you do not give the people any reasons to live in the city they will continue to leave.

3/8/2010 4:41:56 AM

  • Roanoke City Council is known for backdoor politics. Closing of Countryside is just another example of council deciding what they want to do and how to justify it, but not listen to thc citizens requests. This not only affects the residents around the golf course, but those who have loved and used this beautiful, unique course for many years. Thanks to the “wise” judgement of our elected officials, Roanoke has closed what could have been a shining star that truly could have made Roaanoke “Star of the South”.

3/8/2010 7:33:38 AM

  • you city people are ignorant

3/8/2010 8:13:25 AM

  • It”s a terrible business decision to close Countryside.

3/8/2010 8:45:36 AM


3/8/2010 8:54:54 AM

  • I think it depends on what you mean by back-door deal. But Roanoke”s problem is that they are not capable of running a golf course or seeing an opportunity when it is staring them right in the face. What a great Sports Complex could be had with the William Fleming Stadium linked to a Municipal Golf Course and Indoor Tennis facility, not to mention the green space in the city. Sell it to Roanoke County. They know how to run it!

3/8/2010 9:10:43 AM

  • I just do not understand how the city would do this when other cities are trying to do this to bring in tourists, businesses, etc….. It just makes no sense!!!!!!! The city could, if they chose, make good money off of this course. It just shows how poorly managed the city is at this time!

3/8/2010 9:45:18 AM

  • There are smaller communities than Roanoke who have municipal golf courses. The city should have put a lot of effort in the maintaining this great asset. They hope to bring more businesses, etc., to area. What a great loss this will be. They can”t grow more land! They can”t buy it either — when there is none to be had.

3/8/2010 9:47:43 AM

  • I”m a resident of the city and didn”t even know the option was on the table until it was announced that it would close. Just a way for the city to close it and do what they”ve wanted to do w/the land w/out the residents being able to protest it.

3/8/2010 10:33:20 AM

  • This is s huge step backwards for the city of Roanoke. What a shame, the city should be embarrassed!!

3/8/2010 12:53:43 PM

  • If not, this has to be the dumbest, most inept city govt in the US–and that”s saying something!!

3/8/2010 2:01:33 PM

  • IT has been obvious from the start that the countryside deal was one of little thought. I have driven down Interstate 581, and there are hundreds of acres for sale..of under used…real estate…just waiting to be developed. Developement of those lands properly…will enhance and appreciate those surrounding homes..improving thier taxatioin status and the quality of those neighboods. IT would actually ”bring to life” dying areas. But.. to buy a functioning.. profitable business on the ”guise” that it would be developed into a major ”draw” for business…only to back door the real intention…which was to destroy a Roanoke treasure for a ”quick” buck… because…. ”they could”. We need to stop sneaking around, trying to “avoid” what the citizens already know. There are just parts of Roanoke, that are unlike any other city in the nation. Small things, that when taken individually, do not seem to matter,..but when taken as a collective…create this wonderful valley of Roanoke. Countryside is the flag ship for arrive visitors. Nothing says “welcome home” more…or…”Hello! thanks for visiting us”… than the beautiful golf course aligning interstate 581. It”s clean.. fresh big white barn… the weeping willows and beautifully manicured such a picturesque site when entering Roanoke. To destroy that amazing portrait….for a bad purchasing decision is not only bad government, but not representing the interest of the Roanoke valley.

3/8/2010 2:39:40 PM

  • It reeked of backsoor when suddenly the airport commission was maybe not renewing Meadowbrooks use of the airport right-of-way. No problem had been apparent before this suddenly was public knowledge.

3/8/2010 5:09:03 PM

  • This course could be one of the nicest courses in the Valley if someone would put some money into the course management.

3/8/2010 5:41:20 PM

  • Typical Roanoke City Council.

3/8/2010 6:18:49 PM

  • How can city council approve 1.5 million dollars for golf course improvements and a few months later say they don”t have the money. If budgets were run like this in big business somebody would be fired. Obviously city council should be voted out for flip flopping and not knowing how to budget. This is not the way to run government. Countryside golf course could make them money. Perhaps they should annex this property to Salem and then city council could learn how they would have the golf course make money. If they really want to save money, ask why they need two assistant city managers? It is ashame that the people who built homes around the golf course tried to upscale city housing to make Roanoke city a better place to live, only to be told that the city doesn”t appreciate their efforts. City council only wants people to move into the city but offer them nothing for recreation. They talk about everyone being considered to have a piece of the pie, but obviously that”s all it was, talk. City council talks about golfers as if they were second class citizens. The last city council meeting the comment was made that a park could be utilized by all citizens. The last time that I checked the golf course was a public course which could also be utilized by all citizens just like the Art Museum. City council has done their citizens a grave injustice for closing the golf course. And yes, for the city council members that don”t know, golfers are citizens also, even though they rate them second class.

3/8/2010 6:26:15 PM

Posted By Valerie Garner

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