Countryside Golf Course in 2005
In January 2010 PFM Group consultants and advisers to the city on financial matters told city council the 10% self-imposed debt ceiling breach would lower the city’s bond rating. The Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) for 2011 included the issuance of bonds for renovation of the Market building $5,561,925 and repairs to Countryside Golf at $1.5 million.
The contract for Management of Countryside Golf course was prepared and ready to sign and included the $1.5 million for repairs as a condition.
City Council subsequently yanked Countryside from the CIP leaving the Market Building. Moody’s downgraded the city’s bond rating from AA to A1 anyway. Current bonds issued yield 4.5% to purchasers of the city’s debt.
The Market building funding sources:
Funding Previously Appropriated…….$2,325,060
General Obligation Bonds FY 2011…..$5,561,925
Other……………………………………..$1,960,000 (cash reserves)
Construction bids for the Market building came in at $4.7 to $5.2 million – far less then the estimated $7.6 million. There was enough money to invest in the golf course to satisfy the repairs and execute the contract with Meadowbrook. Meadowbrook, Inc. out of Clearwater Florida had managed the golf course since selling it the city for $4.1 million in 2005. Historic tax credits will reduce the final cost for the Market building even further.
Countryside neighbors have watched the golf course deteriorate since the city voted in closed session 6-1 to shut it down. The lone “no” vote was Mayor Bowers.
This further insult to the neighborhood leaves them with no desire to communicate with Chris Chittum in the Planning Department. Chittum called to set up a meeting with the neighborhood on development plans asking them what they want and what they don’t want.
At the Countryside Neighborhood Alliance meeting Monday, June 14 the neighbors expressed a “no confidence” consensus for city council and the city administration. After five years of half-truths, unkept promises and back door dealings there is zero trust.
Now it comes to light that the city would have had and now does have the means to “make it right” for the Northwest community. Using the excuse that the property has deteriorated possibly beyond repair does not wash with the neighborhood and would be a replay of history – city ownership equals deterioration followed by closure and demolition or sell at a loss.
Suspicious gatherings and suspected drug dealing at the dead end of Countryside Drive have yielded many 911 calls. Lt. Mac Babb who attended Monday’s neighborhood meeting said the tall grass creates a hiding place for loiters or worse. Babb said he would increase patrols at the dead end and ask Economic Development to move cement barriers to prevent parking and drug activity.
Neighbors continue to keep up with mowing the 10th and 11th fairways at their expense. Ken Saunders featured on WSLS and WDBJ is on his second riding lawn mower at a cost of $1400. Other neighbors are using push mowers in an attempt to keep the grass down and there are plans in the works to pay a tractor owner to mow the 12th fairway.
Posted By Valerie Garner
Categories: Community, Finance, Politics, Roanoke City Politics
Tags: budget, city_debt, Countryside, neighborhood