Irrigating the 12th fairway
On October 30 just one day before Meadowbrook’s management contract of city-owned Countryside Golf Course expired city administration inked a six-month contract extension. The rushed contract consisted of only a few pages.
The Vice-President of Operations for Meadowbrook, Inc. Scott Beasley will be in town this week to negotiate a long-term five-year contract. The six-month contract gives the city and Meadowbrook until December 9 (one month) to come to terms. If not then Meadowbrook can take their marbles and go home. That would leave the final RFP responder, Silverstone being led by former Council member Alvin Nash as the only remaining option.
Since the bidding closed on June 1, 2009 the city had been negotiating with Geary Leathers who had once held the position of Vice-President of Operations with Meadowbrook. Leathers was onboard during the period from at least 2002 when City Manager Darlene Burcham set her sites on acquiring the golf course for upscale mixed-use development. Negotiations with Leathers fell through and City Council’s lack of action at two council meetings made it impossible to finalize a contract to manage the golf course before expiration of Meadowbrook’s contract on October 31.
After years of attempts to buy the property and being told by Meadowbrook it was not for sale Ed Hall with Hall and Associates advised Burcham in 2002 to make sure the 40-year lease on the part of the golf course owned by the Airport Commission was not renewed. The 40-year lease expired in November 2008.
City Manager Darlene Burcham announced the six-month extension at the October 22 council meeting and mumbled something about $75,000 dollars. This seemed to escape everyone’s ears. According to the contract the city is paying Meadowbrook $75,000 in advance for the six-month contract period. The money will come out of the new golf course fund being created by Ann Shawver Director of Finance. The fund will hold the $1.5 million allocated from the Parks and Recreation Fund as voted on by Council October 22.
In the meantime the $75,000 is payment for Meadowbrook to oversee the installation of a new irrigation system and golf cart path, clubhouse and pavilion repairs. The repairs will be opened up for bidding following execution of the long-term agreement. Should either party not come to terms the $75,000 will be prorated at $12,500 per month and returned to the city. Should the Airport Commission pull the rug out from under the city’s recently executed 10-year lease on the airport land then Meadowbrook would get one month with pay to shut down.
What if Meadowbrook and the city don’t come to terms? This does not mean that the group with Alvin Nash is awarded the contract by default. This could get real interesting.
The Countryside neighborhood had planned a celebration but again the air is leaking from the balloon. Not that this is the first time. After four and one half years the neighborhood has learned to be skeptical and distrustful. They are wondering what derail mechanism is being employed. As a matter of fact one official stated as much.
CLICK HERE for more on the history of Countryside Golf Course.
Posted By Valerie Garner
Categories: Community, Roanoke City Politics
Tags: Countryside, golf, neighborhood, parks