Hartford Closer To Deal On Management Firm For City Golf Courses
March 10, 2009
In less than a month, golfers will be hitting the links around the state to work on their hooks, slices and handicaps.
They should be able to practice at Hartford's municipal courses at Goodwin and Keney parks, too, but there's a hitch: City officials have yet to choose a management company to run the courses.
That won't happen for at least a couple of weeks because of some questions Hartford Councilman Jim Boucher had over the timing of the selection process.
According to a memo from City Chief Operating Officer Lee Erdmann, the problem began last spring when American Golf Corp., which had managed the city's courses for the past 20 years, balked at a scheduled $50,000 increase in the annual lease payment, to $350,000.
After three months of negotiations, city officials thought they had a new agreement in place, but American Golf backed out again, according to Erdmann's memo.
In October the city put out a request for proposals, and American Golf and MDM Golf were finalists. Members of the city council's review committee settled on MDM Golf, and in February Mayor Eddie A. Perez recommended that the council pass a resolution naming MDM as the manager of the two courses for five years with two five-year extension options. The base rent in the first term is $100,000, which would be supplemented by a percentage of the rent based on certain gross revenues.
But Boucher, who had heard from local golfers worried about the courses opening on time, said he wanted to learn more about the timing of the process.
Thanks in large part to Erdmann's explanation, Boucher said Monday he was ready to approve MDM's hiring.
"It really clarified how we should move forward and explained the delay," Boucher said, adding that he had been prepared to move forward with the resolution Monday night and didn't expect there to be any more delays.
A public hearing on the resolution is scheduled for next week and the city council is expected to vote on the contract at its March 23 meeting.
Luis Cotto, chairman of the council's public works, parks and recreation committee, said he expected that MDM would still have enough time to make the courses playable by the first week of April.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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