Monday, November 9, 2009

Roanoke City/Meadowbrook Golf has one month to negotiate a contract

Irrigating the 12th fairway

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: , , ,

Comments (4)


November 9th, 2009 at 12:38 PM    

The city is crazy. You need to understand that Mr. Beasley is a smooth talking southern boy who can dupe you out of your live savings and make you feel good about it. Is there not someone at city hall that knows how to negotiate? Here are som keep points:
1) Meadowbrook went from a top 5 to lower 20th in a ranking of top management companies. Roanoke’s lost contract drops them to last place.
2) Meadowbrook needs Roanoke to maintain its status and attract new contracts. Without roanoke on their list of managed courses the company looks as if it is heading for the red…just look at the number of key managers that have left the company.
3) It would cost Meadowbrook a great deal of money to move it’s equipment of the grounds. This would open negotiations to either lease/purchase the equipment or charge them a storage fee.
4) The fee for staying on exceeds the revenue that will be generated in the off-season.
5) the going management rate is $10,000/month. Why over pay?

These simple facts put the ball in the towns corner. So why are they giving it back to meadowbrook.


November 9th, 2009 at 5:12 PM    


You seem to know a lot about Meadowbrook. Do you know why negotiations broke down with Geary Leathers?


November 9th, 2009 at 5:49 PM    

I an not sure what happened to Leathers but it could be speculated that someone at Meadowbrook reached out. Someone should ask him. Why does the city want someone to mange those who manage the course. Does everyone understand that management companies are like absenty owners. They send out e-mails, develope agronomic plans with the superitendent, merchandise buying plans with the pro shop and review the daily deposits to see if they are consisitent. The have monthly conference calls that are of little use; but constitute being in touch regulary with the staff. If they visit your property more than once a year they will find ways to bill you for it. In short, the people who are left to run the facility are often left running the operation inside of the paramters set by the management company that are there to serve the management company and not the customer or the town. If I was the city mgr i would look seriously at contracting with a labor company to provide labor, hire a GM, Superintendent and Head Pro on the town books who reports to P&R department. The town must have a CFO or accountant who can manage the books and ensure deposits are done on time. Bottom-line is that golf industry professionals (club manager, golf pro, superintendent) are going to run the business and do not need someone to take credit for the work they do; so why pay so much for so little?


November 10th, 2009 at 6:22 AM    

The City and Council members said they don’t want to be in the golf course business. Guess what they’re in the golf course business. Except they are only half way in. Any business needs full committmet to prosper.

No the city does not operate in a capacity of a CFO. The director of finance would be close but government has no CFO.

Parks and Recreation could handle it with a hire or two. P&R’s answer to handling the golf course depends on which way the wind is blowing that day.

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