Lease the Golf Course. Letter to the editor from Mike Lange Jr…
I’m writing this letter to suggest that you please reconsider leasing the golf course out to a third party for 25 years. There are over 600 properties attached to the golf course and over a 1,000 homes that have partial views that pay an additional royalty in real estate taxes to the city of Brigantine for this amenity. That’s a lot of taxpayer monies that are in play here.
We need and depend on the golf course for drainage due to severe storms. The water absorption rate of the golf course helps out our ratio and reduces the overall insurance rating for everyone required to carry ﬂood insurance for the entire island. I believe it’s the responsibility of you, all of our elected officials, to ensure that the Links is owned and operated by the city forever.
The current management company, Meadowbrook Golf, has in place a general manager Nathan Robbins, who is very professional and extremely knowledgeable in the golﬁng business. The superintendent, Tom Dale, is second to none.
To see the devastation and the complete transformation of this course from October 2012 to July 2013 is night and day. I do have some questions. Why did the majority of Council declare a loss in revenue for the 4-by-4 permits, beach tags and parking passes, yet the loss in revenue for the golf course was not included?
FEMA, local and state politicians toured the golf course shortly after Superstorm Sandy and wholeheartedly agreed that destruction, devastation and deterioration did in fact occur to the golf course and the drainage infrastructure. FEMA has the power to inﬂuence the Department of Environmental Protection, Environmental Protection Agency and the National Flood Insurance Protection Agency. Drainage will play a key role in future mitigation loss for the golf course and homeowners. Why was this not pursued when the cost of reimbursement is 90 to 10 in the city’s favor?
A bond proposal was presented to the city in February by Meadowbrook for emergency funding to replace damaged grass cutting equipment, re- pair the damaged roof to the clubhouse and repair bridges. Unfortunately, that proposal was tabled and Meadowbrook had to secure the necessary equipment and repair the dam- ages on a temporary basis. Why didn’t council approve a bond ordinance in February when the repairs, reconstruction and bridges could have been addressed in the off season?
Certain members of City Council have supported selling advertising on trash cans that were placed the beach; how- ever, none cared to mention the Links also advertises on each hole of the golf course and would greatly beneﬁt from your support. A couple of years ago, certain members of City Council boasted about Brigantine Beach having the best beaches in all of New Jersey. Why this same and simple approach can’t be taken when public talking about the only 18-hole golf course located on a seashore barrier island in the entire State of New Jersey and one of our biggest assets here in Brigantine is disappointing, to say the least.
I would like to ask Tony Pullella to ﬁnd an entrepreneur or restaurant willing to service the clubhouse. History has shown that this concept is very successful.
I would like to ask Frank Kern and Joe Picardi to sponsor a health skin screening event at The Links. The damages of the sun also affect golfers and would be positive exposure to our hidden treasure.
I would like to ask Lisa the “dog whisperer” McClay if we could secure a grant to put three dozen dog-waste stations throughout the links to enhance our reputation and the “dog-loving capital of New Jersey.”
I would like to ask Phil Guenther, Rick DeLucry and Jennifer Blumenthal to work with our professional grant writer, Jim Rutala, to come up with a plan to go after the ﬁrst of three $1.8 billion in funding that the state of New Jersey has made available for relief efforts.
I would like to ask Andy Simpson to reach out the construction business owners living here in Brigantine to see if they would be willing to donate their time in repairing or renovating the clubhouse. Maybe we could take up a collection to help offset the materials. I would like to be the ﬁrst to pledge $100.
Rounds of golf at the links were severely impacted by the lack of emergency funding, and it took until late July for the course to start seeing the traditional play it enjoyed in prior years. Let’s try and see the glass as half full and not half empty.
Mike Lange Jr.
Member, Brigantine Golf Links