Golf plan gets green light
Near the end of another painfully long meeting that began Tuesday night, the City Council approved a plan to bring in an interim director to run the Chuck Corica Golf Complex but expressed doubts about the feasibility of a new master plan that recommended a nearly $11 million makeover. The council said it will also consider closure of the complex’s Mif Albright course and fee increases recommended by Golf Commission President Jane Sullwold. The council voted to seek out a private operator to run the facility in the long term, but they will ask the public what it wants to see out there first. Councilmember Frank Matarrese questioned the feasibility of the master plan, which recommended a private operator who would pay roughly a half-million dollars a year to lease the complex and also make improvements that could include banquet facilities, tennis, a fitness facility and spa as well as revamped courses that could support national play. Sullwold said the plan was unrealistic for Alameda, and other local golfers also voiced their dismay with it. She said other local cities that lease their courses to private operators have had problems getting those agreements honored. The discussion could herald a détente between the City Council and the Golf Commission, which have engaged in quite the war of words over the past month over responsibility for the course’s financial problems. But it also could herald a big financial hit for the city, which Sullwold said took around $1 million off the top of the golf complex’s books this past year – money Councilmember Doug DeHaan said the city may no longer be able to take. It’s not clear whether the council’s decisions will stave off the imminent doom for the course predicted by NGF Consulting, co-authors of the report. They said elimination of the transfers won’t be enough to save the complex or fund needed improvements. The interim manager would run the course for about a year while a proposal for a long-term lessee is drafted.