And, I think city commissioners spent more than half their deliberation-time dealing with the inevitable death of one of the city's two 9-hole golf courses. Their brave decision was essentially to kick the can down the road: Keep Normandy Oaks open for 2014 and create an ad hoc committee to explore options. It was a 5-2 vote, with Sharlan Douglas and Mike Fournier voting No.
In terms of tone, it was an interesting meeting. Fournier was more sharply focused than he was at the previous CITCOM meeting. In fact, he seemed to challenge Mayor Jim Ellison a couple of times. And there was a bit of to-and-from between Peggy Goodwin and the mayor about the presence, or not, of promotion of the city's golf courses, especially on the city's website. Kyle DuBuc said "This is transparency" referring to the open dialogue. Ellison advised keeping Normandy Oaks open until a decision is made to bring any re-purposing decision before the voters. Pubic Service Directory Greg Rassell advised against any attempt to shut the course temporarily, pointing out that restoring it to playable condition would be very costly after a season of "just mow it every 2 or 3 weeks." David Poulton, referring to a pertinent document, suggested that "one season of losses is not reason enough" to close Normandy Oaks. There is a need to develop a long-term strategy, he said. Fournier worried about there being a better use of city money when "golf rounds are dropping." And he mentioned the competition from better golf courses in the area. Douglas wondered whether there is an "escape clause" for involved contractors if operations are non-profitable. Somewhere in there Ellison raised the issue of the need to seek residents' approval to repurpose a golf course. DuBuc raised the issue of the need or not of the city's maintaining one golf course or two. Fournier -- politely acerbic -- said he appreciated "all the sentiment, but financially . . . "
Oh yes, there was some other business attended to. CITCOM also Approved an agreement with Miss Dig; Adopted an extension and update of the Grand Slam Lease; and Approved creating and filling two new Administration positions: An Economic Development Manager and a "Community Engagement Specialist" (read, Public Relations gal or guy).
And, the six Public Comment speakers who did not opine re golf courses touched on the Memorial Day Parade, the fate of Barnes & Noble, vendor problems at the Farmers Market, having any Economic Development position report to the Downtown Development Authority or at least have the job description reviewed by the DDA. One speaker pointed out that maintenance of golf courses "pollutes and contaminates" the course and nearby areas.