The Park Service had hoped to work out a deal with the Federal City Council, a private nonprofit business group, for operation and improvement of East Potomac Golf Course, Langston Golf Course and Rock Creek Golf Course, plus the East Potomac Tennis Center. But it has now launched a competitive solicitation for the lease, stipulating it must be an all-or-none deal. The three courses all pre-date World War II and the Langston Course, built as a segregated course for African-Americans, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The National Park Service (NPS) has launched a competitive solicitation for the lease of three Washington, D.C. golf courses and a tennis center, bringing an end to negotiations with the Federal City Council, station WTOP reported.
The federal agency has issued a request for information (RFI), the responses to which will be used to craft a formal solicitation for the lease and improvement of the East Potomac Tennis Center, East Potomac Golf Course, Langston Golf Course and Rock Creek Golf Course, WTOP reported. It’s an all-or-none deal: No consideration will be given, per the request for information, “to interested parties who are not willing to lease and operate all premises under one lease.”
The RFI means an end to the talks between the NPS and Federal City Council for just such an arrangement, WTOP reported. In June 2017, The Washington Post reported that the two parties, under a letter of intent, would “begin negotiating a deal that, if successful, could result in a multimillion-dollar renovation of three dilapidated golf courses and a tennis center in the District.”
At that time, The Post reported, the Federal City Council, a private nonprofit business group, was given nine months to convince the NPS that it could overhaul the Park Service-owned facilities.
“We want to make sure terms of a lease would respect the historic character of the golf courses and maintain access and affordability for the public,” Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles, a spokeswoman for the NPS, said at that time.
Any investment, she added, would have “to enhance and modernize the facility and the golf experience.”
D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser praised the potential for a deal at that time, noting that it could create jobs and attract golfers who would also frequent the city’s hotels and restaurants.
“This announcement is a step toward achieving local participation and input into the operations and upkeep of a portion of our national parks,” Bowser said in a statement. “This is also an opportunity to create jobs for D.C. residents during the improvements that are likely to be made to the courses and in the additional rounds played by residents and visitors alike.”
Bowser sent President Donald Trump a letter asking for approval to make major upgrades to the three golf courses, The Post reported.
Emeka Moneme, Deputy Executive Director of the Federal City Council, said that he hoped to reach a deal for a golf course lease sometime in 2018 and, after that, construction could take five to seven years. The properties are badly in need of investment, he said.
“They’re horrible,” he said. “[The grass is] brown. They haven’t been cared for in the way that we think some members of the community would like them to be cared for.”
Officials at the Federal City Council said that they thought they could keep the courses affordable for residents of the region and improve the clubhouse, driving range and quality of the playing surface, including bunkers, greens and fairways.
“Our vision is fairly comprehensive about where improvements could be made,” Moneme said.
The Federal City Council started talking seriously to the Park Service about a potential collaboration two years ago, Moneme said. The courses have been run by a company under a contract that expires at the end of 2018, The Post reported.
The course at East Potomac was built in 1920, Rock Creek Golf in 1923 and Langston in 1939. Named for John Mercer Langston, the first African-American elected to Congress from Virginia in 1888, Langston was built as a segregated course for African-Americans, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.