Pell City requests support from commission to save Pine Harbor
St. Clair News-Aegis (Pell City, AL), 2014-02-17
Feb. 17--PELL CITY --
Pell City city manager, Patrick Draper and Mayor Joe Funderburg were in attendance at last week's commission work session. The purpose of their visit was to request funding from the commission to help save the Pine Harbor Golf Course in Pell City.
Draper began his presentation to the commission by passing out the city's five-year plan. He said that the city was approached in Nov. about saving the course, and this list was the itemized contribution that the city would need to be in place in order to save the golf course.
The official request that Pell City made to the commission was a one-time contribution of $50,000 dollars. "We would like to have the right to come back if this doesn't do what we're expecting it to do," said Draper. "It is just a projection." He said that they have a lot of confidence in the project, and though it is only a projection the estimations were very conservative.
He said that in years one and two of the plan, the city is expected to have a loss from the expenses. But years three through five are anticipated to be a gain but not by much. "Again, this is an under projection, and we think we can do better," said Draper.
County Commissioner, Jimmy Roberts said, "Why are you bringing a losing project to us?" Mayor Funderburg explained that the golf course had always been a private course, and they believe that this is the reason it has not been very successful. They believe making the course available to the public will bring in the money they are looking for. Batemon interjected, " This is a trial effort for everyone." He suggested that they city bring money back to the county if the course does exceed expectations. "That'll make a statement," he said.
Draper and Funderburg agreed with Batemon. "The city is not looking to profit from this, " said Draper. " At the end of the five years, we want a beautiful vibrant golf course." Funderburg added that the city's current position is to preserve the historical course.
Draper then explained that the course is only getting an average of four rounds per day currently. The projection has the course getting an average of 16 per day. "This should be easy," said Draper. He insisted that the city was especially careful about making conservative estimations.
"The conservative figures have me on board," said Batemon. But the other commissioners expressed some concern. One major concern was the possibility of the owner taking the course back after the five-year contract is up. Roberts ended the conversation with his final remarks. "You can't roll the dice with tax payer money."
The commission planned on voting on whether to fund the project or not at Tuesday's commission meeting. However the meeting was rescheduled due to weather conditions. The new meeting will be held in Ashville on Feb 18.
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