On Wednesday night, about 200 gathered for a State of the 1st Ward. Brigantine Republican councilman; Andy Simpson, invited residents, friends and neighbors to the clubhouse at our city golf course. It was an important update on 2 key issues: the new FEMA flood maps & the future of ‘The Links’ golf course.
Here’s a sample of topics discussed:
- City engineer; Ed Stinson, updated attendees on newly revised FEMA flood maps and answered audience questions. Many were pleased at these maps & V-Zones.
Next up, The Golf Course. Hot topic of the night.
- Course lost $42,000 last year. Golf course revenue has continued to suffer due to lingering effects of Hurricane Sandy on north end of Island. The Links was out of commission for a time, a fact that many other NJ courses in the area had to deal with during storm clean-up period.
- In 5 years, City of Brigantine will have paid off debt, and will take full ownership of ‘The Links’ golf course.
- Residents of 1st ward, and those in attendance were unanimous: they want golf course to stay in City hands, for the City to keep fixing it up, and for the City to ramp up plans to use it as potentially large source of retail tax revenue in future.
- 1st ward citizens believe golf course has direct, positive impact on property values.
- Gary Shea, (part-time resident who rents in 4th ward & sells Links golf packages) thought course needed lot’s of work. Local residents didn’t agree. They believe course condition is making come back, even though reports suggest City hasn’t invested to maintain this municipal asset since Hurricane Sandy.
- Councilman Simpson asked: Would you consider long term deal with company to lease, repair and improve course? Not easy question to answer.
- Drainage has been north end issue long before golf course existed, and well before most development in the area. Since Brigantine is built on a sand bar, there’s always drainage issues in the area. Residents know risk/reward of living in this beautiful section of Island.
- Citizens from 1st ward want golf course maintained, and this City asset improved, without delay.
- Clubhouse has some roof leaks which everyone believed should be corrected asap. Ernie Purdy; Director of Public Works, is working with The Links to correct issues, however, more City Council cooperation is necessary.
- Mike Lange Sr., (owned course in 70’s) said his ownership group invested substantial funds to improve course. When he sold to American Golf, new owners put almost 4 million into improvements.
- Mayor Guenther addressed audience. Together with Councilman Simpson, they’re working on plan to get state grant for course upgrades. Seems this wasn’t already applied for. They made call to office of Congressman LoBiondo. Application paperwork now getting started.
- Democratic council members Pullella, Kern and McClay popped in for a look-see. Pretty sure it wasn’t for the yummy appetizers.