The building committee charged with renovations to the H. Smith Richardson GC clubhouse hopes the upgraded facilities will attract more tournament play.
The H. Smith Richardson Golf Clubhouse Committee’s $7,020,000 bond resolution for a new building saw heavy scrutiny—and even proposed amendments from the Board of Finance—but was ultimately approved, the Fairfield (Conn.) Citizen reported.
Craig Curley and Hal Schwartz, chair and vice chair of the building committee respectively, presented the bond resolution to the finance board, according to the Citizen’s report.
“We want to point out that $4.5 million goes to the clubhouse building itself. This is a bigger project than just the building. It requires professional services and a funding request,” Curley said.
The Board of Selectmen recently approved the clubhouse committee’s resolution—originally with a $7.3 million price tag—but amended the proposal to transfer $280,000 from the bond to the annual operating budget of the Department of Public Works, the Citizen reported. The department will now have to find funds for that amount for the upcoming budget season.
Finance board members were concerned with what the long-term benefits and revenues of the new clubhouse would be; Curley said the golf commission was looking at hosting more tournaments and pushing a marketing campaign to capitalize on the new project, the Citizen reported.
Ryan Scully, chair of the golf commission, agreed. “We’re looking at a website redesign and that’s important for bringing tournaments in.”
The last “value-engineering” session suggested by the selectmen—cuts, essentially — had done away with more aesthetic factors of the building, Curley said, including an outdoor chimney, ornate doors and lighting on specific parts, the Citizen reported.
“We didn’t take the last set of cuts lightly,” Curley said. “Any deeper cuts would end up with a product that would feel cheap on the edges.”
Finance board member Christopher DeWitt wasn’t happy with the $7 million bond, the Citizen reported.
He proposed an amendment lowering the amount by $2 million. “I feel like this project has been designed for a small group of taxpayers, rather than the 60,000 people of this town,” DeWitt said.
The amendment failed, however, the Citizen reported. Board member Elizabeth Zezima also proposed to return the $280,000 the selectmen took out from the bond resolution, but that change also fell flat when Curley said further delays to the approval process could cost the town $35,000 per month.
Ultimately, the Board of Finance approved the bond resolution with all board members, save for DeWitt, voting in favor, the Citizen reported.
The clubhouse committee will have its final presentation with the Representative Town Meeting at the end of the month, where it needs a majority in the 40-person body for final approval, the Citizen reported.