2010-12-16 / Local & State

Great Cove Pool Future Uncertain

GCGC president talks with commissioners
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

As revenue has continued to drop in recent years at Great Cove Golf and Recreation, the Fulton County commissioners learned this week club officials have already begun taking steps to reduce their expenditures for 2011.

Most notably among the costcutting suggestions shared with the commissioners by club President Paul Johnston is the proposed 2011 closure of the club’s swimming pool. Johnston noted the club’s board of directors has already voted to close the public pool, but an additional $5,000 would need to be generated by the club through donations and contributions in order for it to reopen.

If closed for one year, the pool’s closure would likely remain permanent, reported Johnston.

According to Johnston, who has served on the club’s board of directors since 2007, the club has approached the Ayr Township Board of Supervisors twice in recent years in hopes of gaining financial support. The club president went on to say that many residents refuse to believe the pool is open to the general public and involvement by the local municipalities may help eliminate that misconception.

He also said the pool has been hurt by the installation of backyard pools as well as by households where both parents are employed and unable to take their children to the pool during summer vacation.

The saving grace of the pool has been swimming lessons offered by American Red Cross certified swimming lessons. This year, a total of 251 individuals participated in the lessons.

Commissioner David Hoover admitted even though he has never played golf a day in his life, the decision to close the pool is a concern. Hoover suggested further discussions between club officials and the Ayr Township Board of Supervisors.

Johnston further announced the clubhouse has posted a $15,000 annual loss and, as a result, the board has decided to downsize their offerings from dinners and buffets to a sandwich shop. The pro shop will be remain a separate entity from the clubhouse.

Commissioner Bonnie Mellott Keefer questioned how the golf course and its surrounding amenities are marketed throughout the area. The group touched on ideas ranging from three panel brochures to offering discount pool passes to local students.

Under additional questioning by the commissioners, Johnston shared the club is a not-for-profit organization. Looking at existing debt, the organization is unable to transfer to a nonprofit status. The club is currently appraised at $3 million and stands $400,000 in debt.

While the commissioners would not offer any financial assistance to Great Cove Golf and Recreation, they agreed to have the county’s chief assessor review their tax property card. Once the review is complete, the club can decide whether they wish to request a formal tax appeal hearing. In the event a hearing is held and the commissioners agree to reduce taxes, the change would not take effect until 2012.

In other matters addressed by the commissioners on December 14, an agreement of payment was assigned with Debra L. Jones. The agreement is for repayment during 2011 for the balance of a loan through the Community Development Block Grant program in the amount of $2,170.

Julia Dovey, executive director of the Fulton County Partnership, and county human services administrator Jean Snyder discussed the response received following the commissioners’ request for a copy of the Center for Community Action’s bylaws.

Business manager Tim Stanton and Treasurer Monica Seville discussed the possible replacement of the sheriff’s office and whether an elevator would be needed in a new facility.

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