2016-11-10 / Front Page

$2 million clubhouse proposal unveiled

Building would be roughly same size as existing space
By Tim Riel

Golfers could be enjoying a new 9,100- square-foot clubhouse if a new plan is OK’d. Photo by Andrea von Hohenleiten Golfers could be enjoying a new 9,100- square-foot clubhouse if a new plan is OK’d. Photo by Andrea von Hohenleiten The town’s administration has drafted a preliminary concept for a new clubhouse that will have roughly the same footprint as the current layout at the golf course.

The $2 million project was unveiled Monday night during a public workshop with the Jamestown Town Council. The most glaring omission from this plan compared to the previous plan is the absence of a large public space, specifically for the performing arts.

“Whether we like it or not, we’re in the golf business,” Town Planner Lisa Bryer said.

Under the proposal, the existing building would be razed and a new 9,100-squarefoot clubhouse would be built closer to the first tee box. The new location, according to Town Engineer Mike Gray, would improve views down the first fairway from the decks overseeing the course. It also would take advantage of the topography by having a basement.

Another upside would be a better parking situation, Gray said. Once demolished, the current clubhouse would fold into the parking lot.

“There are 99 spaces today, but it’s narrow to navigate,” he said. “This plan maintains the existing number of spaces but improves the circulation.”

Finally, the site relocation would allow the course to operate from the old clubhouse while the new single-floor building is being constructed, Gray said.

Clifford Kurz, of Wright Lane, asked about performance space. In October 2013, architects proposed four buildings on the golf course instead of a single club- house. The estimate for the “village” was upwards of $3.8 million. The councilors, however, balked at the extravagant plan.

A year later, Town Administrator Andy Nota presented his plan to retrofit the Portuguese American Citizens Club as a community center. By transferring the town’s recreational operations to the Holy Ghost property, the department’s current headquarters on Conanicus Avenue could be reserved for performing arts, according to that plan. That referendum, however, was defeated by voters.

Following Monday’s proposal, Kurz said, there are no current plans on the table for the performing arts.

Several golfers in the audience scoffed at Kurz’s suggestions. They said the deed for the property stipulates the land be used strictly for golfing. Nobody on the town side, however, corroborated those comments.

Council President Kristine Trocki said the clubhouse was an asset for all Jamestown taxpayers, not just the golfers. “I don’t want to be short-sighted,” she said. “We’re kind of back to square one.”

While no large performance space was included in Monday’s plan, the draft did include a 1,000-square-foot multipurpose room.

“We’re looking for something that is more of a shared space, not only something available to the community, but to the golf course operators as well,” Gray said.

That room, however, would pale in comparison to the current 3,500-square-foot space, which has been closed since 2011 because of the dilapidated roof.

“It would be a gathering space, a meeting space, but not the large programming room that is there today,” Gray said.

According to Nota, the town has a deadline and “timing is important.”

Councilman Mike White, who sat on the 2010 council that began the clubhouse debate, agreed with Nota.

“We actually have a deadline because of the contract and the building falling apart,” he said.

Not only does the lease expire in January 2018, Nota said, but if a new clubhouse isn’t built, the town will have to start making repairs to the 1902 structure.

“We’d hate to make a large investment to a building that we’re not keeping,” Gray said.

The lease of the golf course is $175,000 annually, which would cover the debt service during the life of the bond, Nota said. The town, however, would not generate revenue from the course during that period.

For the last decade, $145,000 from the lease has been added to the town’s general fund, which, under the new proposal, would be earmarked for debt service. As for repairing the clubhouse, it would cost roughly $1.2 million, which is not financially feasible, Nota said.

Planning Commissioner Duncan Pendlebury, who sat on the buildings committee that scrutinized the project in the early stages, endorsed the administration’s plan.

“This scheme seems like the logical outcome of everything we worked through,” he said.

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