The Ardsley Curling Club has occupied a 16,000-sq. ft. building at the Ardsley-on-Hudson, N.Y., country club’s property since 1966, but when the lease is up, the country club wants to use the space for something else, forcing out the curling club. Options for the future of the space include a gym, indoor golf facility and kids camp.
Members of the Ardsley Curling Club hope to find another local site to break ground for another facility when its current home at Ardsley Country Club in Ardsley-on-Hudson, N.Y., is used for another purpose, the Westchester, N.Y.-based Journal News reported.
The curling club, which currently includes about 235 members, financed construction of its roughly 16,000-sq. ft. building on the grounds of the Ardsley Country Club in 1966. But the country club, as per the original agreement, later took over ownership, the Journal News reported.
Ardsley CC president Greg Smith said eight options are being considered, among them a gym, indoor golf facility and kids camp. A committee will ultimately decide what proposals to present for a membership vote, said Smith, who noted the country club includes about 350 families, the Journal News reported.
While Mike Shalhoub, the curling club’s president, said he believes the planned change in use is designed as a “marketing tool” to attract new members, Smith denied that. But he said, “If it does attract more, that would be great.”
The curlers, who pay the country club rent, utility charges and taxes, have been “incredibly good” tenants, Smith said. But when the curling club was built, more curlers, including Smith’s own now-late parents, also belonged to the country club. Now that number is only about 15, Smith estimated, citing that as reason for change, the Journal News reported.
“It’s not about having them out,” he said. “They’ve been great partners. But there is not a lot of cross-over. In Olympic years, they’ve had incredible growth but it hasn’t translated to us. This is a big space and very few of our members are using it.”
But finding another site the curlers can afford has proved problematic. The country club formally notified the curlers last summer they’d have to leave in June 2020 when their most recent lease expires. A committee of curlers has explored purchasing land but, to date, that has proved cost-prohibitive. An increased focus has been placed on finding land to lease, then building on that, as was the club did nearly 52 years ago, the Journal News reported.
With central or lower Westchester preferred locations, both public and private properties are being explored, according to curling Board of Directors member Joe Sablow. Sablow, who noted the next closest curling clubs are in Bridgeport, Conn., Plainfield, N.J., and Albany, N.Y., said, “The best scenario is we’d partner with a municipality.”
The club could erect a building used for the September-April curling season and then by a community for anything from a summer camp to a trade shows to pickle ball play, Sablow said. The club would like its next building to be up 22,000 sq. ft., so the land would have to accommodate that, the Journal News reported.
The current building includes a kitchen and a small bar/food-area lounge that overlooks a roughly 70-by-150-foot ice area that includes three playing sheets. Sablow and Shalhoub said, ideally, the new facility would include four or more sheets. This would allow for expanded expanded tournament play, and growth of the club’s kids program, the Journal News reported.
Shalhoub also mentioned the possibility of a new site serving as an Olympic curling training center, which, while still having a low impact in terms of road traffic, could push money into area motels and restaurants, as would hosting a greater number of tournaments, or bonspiels, as curlers call them, the Journal News reported.
That might seem ambitious but the club, whose members include kids to 90-year-olds, has produced national- and international-level competitors. “We’d love to grow the sport. That’s our objective,” Sablow said. “It’s not big traffic. It’s not like a rowdy sport.”
The curling club actually formed in 1932 but, before building at the country club, used ice at the now-defunct St. Andrew’s Curling Club in Hastings. After it lost its own country club, it took Bridgeport’s Nutmeg Curling Club years to find a site to build another facility, Sablow said, noting those curlers were “nomads in the desert,” playing at Ardsley for multiple years, the Journal News reported.
Ardsley’s curlers are trying to avoid approaching local skating rinks, mostly because they prefer a surface dedicated to curling, since curling rinks utilize pebbled ice and skating rinks are smooth, slick surfaces, the Journal News reported.
The club and surrounding country club are in the Town of Greenburgh. Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner, who toured the curling club last year, lamented its pending departure, remarking its members are “extremely dedicated and passionate,” and the club “adds to the character of the community.” But Feiner said the town doesn’t own any open space suitable for construction of a curling building and can’t intervene to try to keep the club where it is, the Journal News reported.
“The town can’t tell the country club what to do,” Feiner said, adding though, “I’d be happy to follow up with other public bodies.”