Wednesday, March 24, 2010
They thought he would be different. New city manager Chris Morrill met with two dozen neighbors and golfers at the blocked entrance to Countryside Golf Club Wednesday evening.
Assistant manager Brian Townsend and Ken Cronin General Services and Sustainability Director were Morrill’s support team. The evening was a heart-wrenching experience for the Northwest neighborhood. The pain they have endured in the past five years spilled out in tears and frustration.
The City purchased the golf course in 2005 planning to make it into an urban “village center.” The idea quickly died with no developer seeing the vision.
The neighborhood says they are unable to sell their devalued properties at any price. Instead of a green well-manicured fairway they will soon have a field of tall grass that will slowly erase the memory of once was serene and beautiful. There is also the treacherous crater-like sinkhole waiting for person or pet to snare.
Adding insult to injury are what one can only be describe as cement bomb barricades that welcomes visitors to their neighborhood.
The promise to not sell off the property piece by piece has been erased from the city’s memory. They just might be offered (seeming more like an ultimatum) portions of the 10, 11, 12 fairways “gifted” by the city by way of a HOA (Home Owners Association). The mostly senior citizens would have to improve it, pay taxes on it and mow it. The older Ranch Road townhomes are mostly rental. Home owners are on fixed incomes.
One neighbor remarked “they must think we live in South Roanoke.”
The communication was harsh and tears were shed by golfers and neighbors. They tried to explain the pain that the closure of the Ellis Maples golf course was causing the community.
This Northwest area is the most diverse unsegregated neighborhood in the city claimed one resident. It is the model of how diversity works. Friendly neighbors at your door at a moments notice if needed.
Neighbors asked that the dangerous situation with the sinkhole be fixed and grass mowed at the same frequency as parks. They asked that the unsightly barricades on the golf paths and fallen large limbs be removed. None of the requests were met with a “can do” attitude.
The consensus from all that came to the meeting was a sense of dashed hopes that the new city manager would be different.
Posted By Valerie Garner
Tags: City_Manager, Countryside, golf