City will maintain gardens portion

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The Georgia Golf Hall of Fame board approved an agreement Thursday that will allow the city of Augusta to maintain and operate the gardens on the Hall of Fame property for the next six months.

The board voted unanimously to allow the city to operate the garden property, restrooms and pergola towers until April 15 for $1, with options to renew the lease for two additional six-month terms. However, either party may terminate the agreement with 30 days' advance written notice.

Mayor Deke Copenhaver said he is thankful to finally get the agreement approved but does not know exactly when the city will take control.

"We have not been able to access the grounds to assess the situation to see what needs to be done in going forward, so now that's what we need to do," he said.

It has taken months to negotiate the agreement. Meanwhile, the gardens withered in the drought because the Golf Hall of Fame could not afford to water them, and the city could not access the property.

The Hall of Fame will maintain control of the putting course, maintenance building, vacant property and a trailer that houses administrative offices.

The Golf Hall of Fame also will receive 25 percent of the net operating profits from the city's operation of the property.

The city will be responsible for the security, maintenance, utilities and care of the gardens "in accordance with good horticultural practices."

The city may use the premises for city-sponsored events and for group and individual tours and rent the premises for events that have been held there before. It must obtain permission from the Hall of Fame board for any others.

It must also get written consent from the Golf Hall of Fame board to rent the gardens to a third party if the putting course, vacant property or maintenance building are included.

The gardens were closed earlier this year after Gov. Sonny Perdue cut state funding for the facility.

Augusta commissioners have already approved the agreement.

Reach Sylvia Cooper at (706) 823-3228 or sylvia.cooper@augustachronicle.com.


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