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Augusta Commission to consider plan for The Patch

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Augusta Commission members will learn more about a plan to revive the city’s troubled public golf course at a work session Monday.

The plan, developed by Au­gusta businessman Paul Simon, is to share resources with the nearby First Tee of Augusta, a youth golf program whose Augusta location Simon co-founded.

Augusta Municipal Golf Course has fallen into increasing disrepair since the city leased it last year to Scottish businessman Brian Hendry, whose abandonment of the lease was unnoticed by city officials for months. With later efforts to outsource “The Patch” failing, the course has been back in city hands since last year, but its budget and staff are limited.

Simon’s plan calls for the city to pay up to $2.25 million in renovations at the course, but he promises a reduction in operating costs and eventual profit, at which time the city will pay a management fee to First Tee owner Fore Augusta Foundation.

Commissioners are divided about Simon’s proposal.

Commissioner Bill Lock­ett said he likes the proposal, which calls for the course’s quality to resemble that of nearby Forest Hills Golf Course, with the potential for “The Patch” to become the home course of Paine College’s golf team.

“I think this is the best thing that we’ve been able to come up with yet,” Lockett said. “We need something that’s going to guarantee community involvement. … I think it’s an outstanding idea with First Tee and ‘The Patch’ adjoining each other. Young people don’t have to go to another town or city, they just move on over to ‘The Patch.’”

Lockett said the city could afford the $2.25 million in renovations.

“It’s going to come from the same place that we get money for anything else we want,” he said. “It could potentially be placed on the SPLOST, but we cannot rely on waiting for the SPLOST to be approved or not be approved; this is something we need to get going now.”

Asked previously about the source of the funds, City Administrator Fred Russell pointed to the next round of the special purpose local option sales tax, which is expected to go before voters next year.

Commissioner Wayne Guil­foyle is more skeptical and said he preferred giving a prior recommended bidder, Virginia Beach Golf Manage­ment, an opportunity to create immediate income for the city.

“I just can’t figure out why we can turn our backs on the Virginia Beach guys,” Guifoyle said. “We had the opportunity to save. Now we’re going to spend money we don’t have?”

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corgimom
31150
Points
corgimom 07/14/13 - 10:08 pm
4
2
"Lockett said the city could

"Lockett said the city could afford the $2.25 million in renovations."

To repair an old golf course, in a time of fiscal crisis?

Augustaisdying
526
Points
Augustaisdying 07/15/13 - 02:50 am
5
1
Lockett is nuts
Unpublished

“'It’s going to come from the same place that we get money for anything else we want,' [Lockett] said."

Yep. Taxpayers that don't live in his district.

Corgimom is right. In this economic climate, to spend millions on the Patch is poor decision making.

Paine College is in possibly worse economic shape. Eliminate the golf program, and all sports, until your economics get in line, if that ever happens.

Riverman1
82184
Points
Riverman1 07/15/13 - 04:41 am
6
0
Think About It

“It’s going to come from the same place that we get money for anything else we want,” Mr. Lockett said.

I respectfully submit to Mr. Lockett that simply knowing where the money comes from without regard to the actual numbers and effects of taking the money is faulty logic.

seenitB4
85293
Points
seenitB4 07/15/13 - 06:36 am
4
1
Now think about it

The Kelly brothers wanted about $300,000. to get the place up to par...but now this guy wants 2.25 million & it will probably fly....amazing logic ....unbelievable ...so glad my tax dollars are not going to this commish.

GnipGnop
11841
Points
GnipGnop 07/15/13 - 07:22 am
3
1
Paul Simon

That's all I need to know to tell me this deal is going to be bad for taxpayers.....

fatherinevans
230
Points
fatherinevans 07/15/13 - 07:37 am
2
1
Head out of the sand.

This is why Augusta has been failing to produce a decent place to live and work. The ignorant thinking by the commission will further put Augusta down and lessen the chances of this place coming up to where it should be as far a people wanting to live and do business here. This commission is a joke. Until someone educates the voters in the county this type of business as usual will continue to drag Augusta down.

dpatt.marine1
71
Points
dpatt.marine1 07/15/13 - 07:48 am
3
1
With it's proximity to the

With it's proximity to the Forest Hill Campus of GRU, the property should be sold to them for more classroom and residential space.

Little Lamb
45282
Points
Little Lamb 07/15/13 - 08:26 am
3
0
Simon's Deal

1. Taxpayers pay for all capital expenditures. $2.25 million is just a down payment.

2. Taxpayers pay a management fee to Fore Augusta Foundation.

3. Golfers pay green fees to Fore Augusta Foundation.

4. Fore Augusta Foundation reports to city of Augusta periodically how deep in the hole the operations are, and taxpayers make up the difference.

5. There will be no "profits."

soapy_725
43672
Points
soapy_725 07/15/13 - 08:33 am
1
0
Mindless Behavior performing at the Commission Meeting.
Unpublished

Mindless Behavior performing at the Commission Meeting.

Cameron Poe
865
Points
Cameron Poe 07/15/13 - 08:54 am
1
0
Between this terrible idea

Between this terrible idea and Marion Williams want for another $3M to make a "park" on top of the parking lots downtown the city is down $5M with nothing to show for it and no real way to make it back. Just saying $5M could level a lot of sidewalks and pay for extra cops. You could even afford all those magical cameras we seem to need!

Also, on what planet does paying for repairs, paying for management, and then splitting profits with said manager make sense?

GnipGnop
11841
Points
GnipGnop 07/15/13 - 09:13 am
3
0
I disagree LL

There will be plenty of profit...just not for the taxpayers or the city....

Little Lamb
45282
Points
Little Lamb 07/15/13 - 09:33 am
2
0
Profit

Good comment, GnipGnop. Fore Augusta Foundation can cook the books and the commission will never figure it out.

dichotomy
32038
Points
dichotomy 07/15/13 - 11:31 am
3
0
The Commission should

The Commission should consider THIS.........if the idea comes from Paul Simon it will cost the taxpayers a CRAP LOAD of money for decades and will probably fail. That is his modus operandi. The TEE, the parking deck, the hotel, the Golf Hall of Fame, Fort Discovery, and now the PATCH.......all brought to you by Paul Simon & associates and paid for in TOTAL, or in LARGE PART, by YOUR TAX MONEY.....some Federal, some State, and mostly LOCAL...directly out of YOUR pockets.

And where is Simon's BRIBE in all of this to get black commissioner's votes???? A TAXPAYER funded golf course for PAINE...a PRIVATE institution already in financial hot water due to mismanagement and other undisclosed and unprosecuted misdoings.

I cannot believe that they would even consider spending this kind of money when we are eating into our reserves and raising taxes and fees in a bad economy. ESPECIALLY when we have had valid offers THAT WOULD PAY US MONEY TO LEASE THE COURSE.

And some of these people have the gall to mention funding it with SPLOST.............PEOPLE........ALL OF THE SPLOSTs are SPENT....GONE....MORE THAN SPENT SINCE "what me worry" FRED obligated money that has not yet been approved to DOULBE the COST of remodeling the MARBLE PALACE. I personally believe our commissioners and administrator have left the realm of STUPID and ENTERED THE REALM OF CRIMINAL for obligating funds that have NOT BEEN APPROVED.

THERE IS NO GUARANTEE THAT THE NEXT SPLOST WILL BE APPROVED. I, personally, hope that it is not because they WASTE THE MONEY and WE ARE ALREADY PAYING for most of the stuff they use to sell us these SPLOSTs BOONDOGGLES with our normal PROPERTY TAXES. And I don't understand why they even ask us since THEY feel free to spend the money before it's approved anyway. THEY SHOULD BE HELD PERSONALLY, AND CRIMINALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY FUNDS THEY SPEND THAT ARE NOT APPROVED BY THE VOTERS. And the VOTERS should wise up and quit approving these SPLOSTS that end up in the pockets of private people, private institutions, and a few OVERPRICED and UNNECESSARY "we just gotta have one of those" projects that provide very little back to the taxPAYER.

Little Lamb
45282
Points
Little Lamb 07/15/13 - 12:41 pm
1
0
Arrogant Audacity

From Ms. McCord’s story:

. . . [Simon] promises a reduction in operating costs and eventual profit. . . .

How easy for Paul Simon to make a promise he cannot be sure of keeping. He knows that if the Commission will not hold Fred Russell accountable for all his job-related failures; they will not hold him (Simon) accountable if a "profit" never materializes. Simon will have built-in a profit for Fore Augusta Foundation in the terms of the management agreement payments. But to have anything left over for the city is unpredictable. It would depend on economic conditions, graft, corruption, fickleness of the public, waning and waxing of golf popularity, competition, and a host of other factors.

Sweet son
10053
Points
Sweet son 07/15/13 - 01:45 pm
0
1
Lockett's Hidden Agenda: Not well hidden!

Paine College home course and many "people of color" play that course.

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