2017-04-13 / Editorial

Keep golf clubhouse at reasonable cost

Projects for a town are like food at a buffet — a lot of them look good, but if you fill your plate, are you taking on more than you can handle?

The latest item in line is the construction of a golf clubhouse, which could cost as much as $2.7 million. That would include a covered storage area for the golf carts, a gazebo, a chimney and a finished basement. While those all sound nice, the council must decide if their benefit outweighs the cost.

The town has an excellent bond rating, little debt and money is cheap to borrow right now compared to the future. It makes sense if the multipurpose uses for the whole community are maximized, such as using the space for programs, meetings and activities for Jamestowners beyond just golf.

With a $2.5 million fire station addition already on the books and the potential of money for a renovated library looming in the next year, the council must decide if there is an appetite for the full golf clubhouse or just the scaled-down basic plan of about $1.9 million.

All of these projects have their pluses in terms of what they could bring to the community. But much like the still-evolving library plan, the benefits of the clubhouse haven’t been articulated in a way that sells those advantages to the public.

The town also has a history of moving more slowly on large projects — Town Hall, sewage plant and highway barn to name a few — so having the prospect of three large projects (fire station, golf clubhouse and library) may be biting off a bit more than taxpayers want to chew.

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