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Au­gus­ta Municipal Golf Course will reopen

Course reopens today; repairs get go-ahead

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Closed since Wednesday, Au­gus­ta Municipal Golf Course will reopen at 7:30 a.m. today under city management, with free rounds through Sunday, according to City Administrator Fred Russell.

Former course manager Ed Howerton will be back from his reassignment as a recreation safety coordinator to keep the course operating until another private operator is found, Russell said.

In a closed-door meeting Mon­day, the Augusta Com­mission authorized Russell to seek immediate outside assistance with the course, put its management out for bids and make an estimated $62,000 in repairs, he said.

“The money has already been dedicated,” Russell said.

The money and repairs were a sticking point with The Patch in Augusta LLC, which started leasing the course in January, and The Golf Course at Augusta LLC, which sought to take over the lease but declined last week because the commission refused to make the repairs.

About $300,000 in sales tax money is already available for the course, Russell said.

The commission refused in March to give it to The Patch in Augusta, headed by Scottish businessman Brian Hendry. Hendry said he hadn’t planned for the sales tax allocation.

“It’s funny we can fix it after the fact but we couldn’t for the Kellys,” said Com­mis­sioner Wayne Guil­foyle, who supported Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles’ effort to have the lease assigned to Dennis, Pat and Brian Kelly, local brothers who called for repairs before they would take over.

Bowles said Monday he was “perturbed with the way the situation with the Kellys was handled” and questioned sending city employees to the course to run it.

“I know we don’t have anyone in house,” Bowles said, stressing the need for emergency outside assistance at the course. “I think if we can put city employees in these positions, what were they doing to be able to go there? We acknowledge that we have more people than we need working for us.”

Howerton and his staff ran the course at a loss for years before the commission’s 2009 decision to hire an outside firm.

Hendry’s bid was the only qualified one obtained, though last year the commission considered hiring Affiniti Golf Partners, which runs Forest Hills Golf Course for the Uni­ver­sity System of Georgia Board of Regents, for a $5,000 monthly fee.

The commission agreed last year to lease the course to The Patch in Augusta, trading the operating losses for rent, until the rent stopped coming in April.

With Hendry’s departure, Club Car hauled away 50 golf cars he had leased, so they won’t be available for the free rounds this week, Russell said.

The commission authorized Russell to settle claims made by employees of The Patch in Augusta, who worked for Hendry from January until Wednesday and weren’t paid for about the last 10 days they worked.

“It’s a shame what happened to the employees,” Guilfoyle said.

Russell said he had about $15,000 to settle the claims by 15 to 16 employees.

He said bids to run or lease the course would be obtained “with a short turnaround. I’m looking at 40 days or a month” to get a new company in.

Publicity surrounding the closure had the benefit of attracting interest in managing the course.

Russell said he had five calls last week, including two from large golf management firms, seeking more information.

The decision on The Patch came in a legal meeting that preceded regular commission committee meetings.

OTHER BUSINESS

In other action Monday, Augusta Commission committees:

• Voted 3-1, with Commissioner Joe Jackson opposed, to move forward with a $438,700 plan for Augusta Hou­sing and Com­mu­nity De­vel­opment to begin relocating residents of Hyde Park neighborhood because of flooding issues. Bids from private firms to move the residents came in higher, said Engineering Director Abie Ladson.

• Postponed discussion about implementing a new stormwater fee to a commission work session, to be scheduled later.

Comments (15)

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TrulyWorried
9885
Points
TrulyWorried 09/10/12 - 02:23 pm
4
0

The Patch

"Behind closed doors" - there is a song somewhere - - - - but in this case the city government did something right, even though IT was behind closed doors too - they reopened the Patch - now lets hope the solution will be swift and sensible - no consultants for thousands of dollars or whatever else dips into the coffer!! GREAT!!!

Little Lamb
40256
Points
Little Lamb 09/10/12 - 02:24 pm
3
3

Wrong Decision

It is right to open the bid process to see what private firms are still interested. But it was wrong to open up the course here in September with city workers. Everyone knows it is good for fields to lay fallow every now and then. It improves the soil. This would be a perfect time to quit mowing and let the course rejuvenate. It would save us taxpayers money, too, by not running the course at a deficit.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 09/10/12 - 02:32 pm
5
0

Another secret meeting?

How can the commission vote in secret....again?

David Parker
7919
Points
David Parker 09/10/12 - 03:46 pm
3
2

LL, you and your crazy talk

LL, you and your crazy talk of saving money and making things better. So silly (lisping)!

blues550
344
Points
blues550 09/10/12 - 05:19 pm
0
0

how Appropriate

Unpublished

Hacks running an enterorise for hackers.

Jake
30415
Points
Jake 09/10/12 - 08:26 pm
6
2

Shenanigans

What is really going on here? It just doesn't make sense to "suddenly" have the money now that the Kelly brothers are out of the equation.
As far as free golf is concerned, that is a nice touch but all of the golfers I know in Augusta would never play if they had to walk.

draksig
167
Points
draksig 09/10/12 - 08:34 pm
3
2

I believe there are elements

I believe there are elements in the commission that are opposed to anyone operating the golf course at a profit. That is why they refused to make the repairs for two companies then suddenly they decide to make repairs. Any company doing any amount of due diligence on this project would be crazy to take it on.

scorehouse
171
Points
scorehouse 09/10/12 - 08:46 pm
0
1

keystone cops

Unpublished

maybe the city can now by chevy volts for golf carts. what morons! i don't know the kelly gang from the tee center gang but if they are willing to have a go, why not give them a chance? they identified the immediate repairs needed, then are given the shaft? then the incompetent city imbeciles agree with the kelly's and spend the money? it appears that beck fellow was right all along and he's been fired!

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 09/10/12 - 09:00 pm
4
1

I have lost count

Is this Grand Reopening 3 or 4.

Bantana
2071
Points
Bantana 09/11/12 - 08:25 am
6
3

Why now?

Maybe there was something with the previous operators that caused the commission to reconsider just who would be in control of the course and $300,000 of SPLOST funds? Regardless, it's a done deal and time to move on to more important things like a name for our combined colleges or the ownership of section 8 housing units in Augusta, or where our President was born.

(12 hours later I see I got 6 Thumbs Up. That can't be right. My lttle dig at the end there about names, property owners, birth certificates was sarcasism. Because not one of those issues is really important. Please feel free to change those 6 up to 6 down. It's not going to hurt my feelings.)

gargoyle
10361
Points
gargoyle 09/10/12 - 10:34 pm
5
0

As the Patch Turns

A program is needed to follow this farce, or pronounced memory loss. Let’s see if I’ve got chain of events correct: 80's private managed no major problems till the 90's when the landlord (Augusta, City of) turns control in house to the Rec. department. Costs skyrocket, accusations of incompetence abound, the books turn a deep shade of red. The landlord decides that a private manager is needed so they put out bids to lease the property a winning bidder is found and the financiers of the landlord approve monies to maintain the property, but alas the landlord wants to discuss the issue further half of the board wants to keep it in house, half want go with the bid and C. Johnson didn't understand the question. The Bidder is leased the property and promptly told the monies to maintain are being withheld. The bidder breaks the lease and local tenants are picked without bids this time. As soon as the newest tenants find out the landlord has let the property fall into disrepair they bail out. Now money is rediscovered to fix the place up and Fred Russell gets to pick a new tenant. All this makes me wish I had a head injury. Did I forget anything?

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 09/10/12 - 11:41 pm
5
1

Hendry should take the City

Hendry should take the City to court.

Any "vote" taken in secret is illegal and void.

Tullie
2930
Points
Tullie 09/11/12 - 05:40 am
4
0

Confused Again..

As usual. Why did the City pay the salaries of employees that worked for Hendry? He should pay for that not us. He skipped out on a lot of his responsibilities. It was his responsibility to get things in writing, see to his employees, and the Patch.

Don't get me wrong, I feel for the workers, they as usual are the ones hurt and caught in the middle of the mess. But, it doesn't make sense to me that Hendry can just walk off and leave this mess.

soapy_725
43306
Points
soapy_725 09/11/12 - 06:00 am
0
1

Is the Patch a part of the charter?

Unpublished

What new ARC corruption is under which shell? Rain Tax. Rain Tax.
A new River City Contract. All legal and binding. Sealed bids and backdoor meetings.

Even Jesus declared, "what man would purchase a piece of property without first looking at the property". Jesus never met Fred. P.T. Barnum loved Augusta. William Bartram said Augusta would be the center of the south.

soapy_725
43306
Points
soapy_725 09/11/12 - 06:08 am
0
1

Just another way to waste taxpayers money and

Unpublished

keep the sheeple's bowels in a twist. Just wait until they establish the Storm Drainage Commission. They will be in your yard with cameras and measuring tapes to determine how many square feet of dirt, concrete and wooden decking exists. The Rain Gods of River City. Their mission statement will read, "we talk a lot about the weather but we can't do anything about it". Pay up or we will place a tax lean on your property like we do for none payment of property taxes. They may even buy a "power blaster drain cleaner truck" and display it at the courthouse. Then park it in the city garage which has roof leaks, unsupported load bearing walls and an open safe.

Little Lamb
40256
Points
Little Lamb 09/11/12 - 07:50 am
4
0

History

I think you summed it up pretty well, Gargoyle.

soapy_725
43306
Points
soapy_725 09/11/12 - 10:20 am
1
0

It open, then its closed, then its open

Unpublished

Sort of like the sewage treatment plant during rain storms. You would think modern engineering would have planned for rain storms?

Sort of like commission meetings? They are planned.

MarinerMan
2107
Points
MarinerMan 09/11/12 - 12:11 pm
3
0

Bozos on the Bus

Unpublished

With the exception of Wayne and Joe, it's just Bozos on the Bus, as far as commissioners are concerned. You had the Kelly's, ready willing and able, but you did not want to spend the money. Now, after a couple of probably illegal "closed door sessions", you are now ready to spend the money on repairs. Yes, with two exceptions, you are all just Bozos on the Bus. No wonder, we are in the shape that we are in, in Augusta-Richmond County. BTW: we're talking the "short bus" here, just so you will know. SAD.

David Parker
7919
Points
David Parker 09/11/12 - 01:15 pm
2
1

Just make it the rounds free

Just make the rounds free and charge 20-25 dollars to enter the clubhouse and play cards. PRoblem solved.

PhiloPublius
386
Points
PhiloPublius 09/11/12 - 03:01 pm
1
1

More Southern Backwards logic

Someone explain to me why it is a good thing for Augusta's tax dollars to continue to be funneled into this failed project, while building a new downtown baseball stadium for a proven successful organization is a bad thing?

SemperParatus
3225
Points
SemperParatus 09/11/12 - 06:16 pm
3
0

Closed door meetings

What is going on with these "closed door meetings"? They seem to occur regularly. I recall hearing years ago that they were only permitted when dealing with personnel issues. Am I right on this?

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