By Joyce Moran
The City of Little Falls will retain ownership of the golf course through 2007.
The clause was part of the new recommendation given by the golf course task force and accepted by the city council at its Monday evening meeting.
The revised recommendations of the task force were reached following its Sept. 19 meeting with paid members of the golf club.
The recommendations include:
• Having the city encourage a nonprofit organization be formed of interested members, with the golf course task force creating the initial board of seven directors;
• Having the city lease the golf course to the nonprofit at a nominal fee;
• There be one lease with the nonprofit organization for all of the golf course facilities;
• Should the recommendation to have a nonprofit lease the golf course be accepted, the nonprofit will have, in the clubhouse, a bar with a full liquor license. In addition, the kitchen will be closed and the restaurant opened with a limited menu, like a sandwich of the day. The other option is to lease the restaurant to a third party. Events at the clubhouse where more food is needed will be catered;
• The nonprofit consider hiring a PGA golf professional and a golf course superintendent; and
• All dues-paying members, or stockholders, whichever plan the nonprofit organizes under, will have a vote for the board of directors after the incorporation of the golf course.
Finally, the plan’s schedule calls for the appointment of the initial nonprofit board by Oct. 31, 2006; the completion of the bylaws for the 501 corporation, application to the IRS for nonprofit status and the lease with the city negotiated by April 1, 2007; and the date for the nonprofit organization to lease the course set as Jan. 1, 2008.
Several golf course members attended the council meeting to offer comments. Lola Faufau first asked for a clarification about who would be on the first appointed board. Mayor Brian Mackinac explained the first board would be appointed by the task force and the second board would be elected by the members of the golf course.
Others speaking up included Steve Herzog, Tom Cotton and Jack Peck. “I thank the council for tabling this decision originally and having the meeting with the members,” said Cotton. “The people appreciated it and it gave them a chance to understand everything better. We have a good opportunity now to make this golf course even greater. And, with more time now, that helps too.”
Also attending the council meeting was Course Manager Randy Pankonen who offered some recommendations of his own. They included:
• Have a nine panel board to advise the advisory board, i.e., a clubhouse committee and a greens committee;
• Have a tournament committee formed as well as other committees when needed;
• With a liquor license at the clubhouse, have a limited menu offer simple items such as hot dogs, brats and pizza, except on special occasions. Cater the food in for tournaments and special occasions;
• Hire a pro or manager for the pro-shop to be paid with a percentage of the bar profits and the lessons he or she would give; and
• Possibly close the clubhouse over the winter months.
As explained by City Administrator Rich Carlson after the meeting, Pankonen’s proposals are still being considered. “They’re pretty much in limbo yet,” he explained.
Currently, the restaurant at the clubhouse is closed. However, Jason Freeman reportedly will cater meals at the location through January.