The Evergreen Park and Recreation District board has decided to pursue management of the Evergreen golf course, which could remain open year-round under the park district’s jurisdiction.
During a special meeting Monday night, board members voted unanimously to give EPRD Executive Director Scott Robson authority to submit a proposal to the city of Denver.
“I’ve always gone on the assumption that running the golf course is something that fits right into our portfolio,” Robson said while presenting the proposal at the Jan. 22 EPRD board meeting. “I do think there would be a financial upside to running this property.
“I think we’ve got opportunities in the district to expand, to manage the property comprehensively,” Robson said.
“It’s something that has been in my mind for 40 years,” said board member Peter Lindquist. “It’s a big step. It’s a huge question.”
In the request for proposals the city of Denver issued Jan. 1, an initial five-year lease was offered with the options of managing both Keys on the Green restaurant and the golf course, or just the restaurant.
A guaranteed annual minimum payment was included in the proposal. Robson noted that the previous manager agreed to $277,000 annually.
The RFP also requested that the concessionaire finance capital improvements to the clubhouse, such as porch replacement and the addition of disabled-accessible ramps. Building maintenance by the concessionaire was also requested in the proposal, along with procurement of equipment and furnishings.
During the Jan. 22 discussion, Robson recommended that the park district assume responsibility for the golf course and find another vendor to manage the restaurant. He said there is some question as to whether Denver would allow a concessionaire to subcontract the restaurant management.
At the Monday night meeting, the board decided to submit an RFP for a restaurant manager, said board President Mark Footer.
“The restaurant scares me,” said board member Andrew Adamowski.
Adamowski also questioned the capital improvements provision in the RFP and the five-year lease, which he said seemed short.
“It’s old and needs some work,” he said of the clubhouse.
“That would be one key point of negotiation,” replied Robson. “If we are going to improve anything, you could negotiate it as a deduction.”
“I share Andrew’s concern,” said board member Kit Darrow. “I have that same overall concern about a five-year lease.
“It’s exhilarating, but like jumping off a cliff,” Darrow remarked.
During the Jan. 17 meeting held by the city of Denver on the RFP for interested parties, a number of folks expressed concern about the five-year contract, said Robson. They also felt that Denver should take more ownership of the property, which it owns, he added.
Board member Janet Heck Doyle pointed out that in the past each renewal needed approval by Denver. Last fall, the city did not initially approve the renewal of former manger Ron Reif’s contract.
Doyle also suggested the golf course be managed as a separate entity from the park district.
“I see big drawbacks to being part of EPRD,” she said.
“I would see it as a stand-alone,” replied Robson.
“I think the golf course fits directly into our district,” said Lindquist. “I like the idea of year-round planning.”
However, Lindquist and other board members said they would like to see financial information involving golf course management before pursuing the matter. They agreed to schedule a series of special meetings that included executive sessions, at which Robson would present financial estimates.
“It’s going to be a pretty depreciated asset,” said Footer. “This is something that is going to benefit the district but will not be a gold mine.”
“We would negotiate major expenditures,” said Robson. “You’re not going in to rebuild the greens.”
Robson is working to meet a Jan. 31 deadline to submit the RFP to the city of Denver.
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