2018-07-12 / Front Page

Council to mull repairs at course

Plan aims to fix greens and improve the irrigation
BY TIM RIEL

A decision to replace the clubhouse at the Jamestown Golf Course has spanned five town councils, with proposals ranging from a $3.7 million “village” to the $2.9 million building that will appear as a referendum in November.

Through this entire debate, golfers at the course have been steadfast in their belief the town should invest in the golf course before it builds an exorbitant clubhouse. Regardless of this stance, the discussion has continued to revolve around the building.

At Monday’s council meeting, however, the discussion moved from the stairways to the fairways, from the latrines to the greens.

According to Town Administrator Andy Nota, the council will be given a brief overview of a plan developed by the town’s staff and the course operator. The property is owned by the town and leased to the Mistowski family for $175,000 annually. This proposal to improve the grounds is independent of the clubhouse.

“The work needs to be done regardless of what happens with the referendum,” Nota said.

The discussion will include whether to rebuild the irrigation pond with a new liner, which will eliminate sodium buildup in the soil on the surface floor. Preliminary plans also include the solicitation of state permits to enlarge the pond or develop a secondary water source.

As for the greens, which are the crux of the problem, Nota said he would like for reconstruction to commence immediately. This would be done with consultation from experts from the University of Rhode Island and the United States Golf Association.

If these measures are conceptually supported by the councilors, Nota will negotiate discounts and develop short-term lease extensions so work can be done under management of the Mistowskis. Although the lease was scheduled to go out for bid, extenuating circumstances have allowed grace periods between the two sides.

According to Nota, this work initially will be financed through the golf course’s reserve fund, which is supported by $25,000 from the annual lease payment. Going into this fiscal year, there was roughly $200,000 invested into the coffer. Because of the deteriorating condition of the course, however, voters approved Nota’s request to raise that $25,000 allocation by $100,000 in fiscal year 2018-19.

Nota is cautioning taxpayers this project may require additional money in the future. If the councilors approve a resolution Monday, Nota will return for full approval later this summer or in the early fall.

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