The town board has approved an agreement between the Open Space Conservancy and Bethlehem to lease Colonial Acres Golf Course for $1 a year.
The town proposed to lease and maintain the 43-acre Colonial Acres property to preserve open space. The course takes up approximately 30 of those 43 acres.
There were some questions regarding maintenance of the course and future infrastructure upgrades after it fell into the town’s hands. Resident Robert Jasinski asked how the town was going to pay a workforce to maintain the open land and golf course.
It seems our staff is already overextended on parks and recreation, said Jasinski.
Councilman Daniel Plummer said the town will most likely retain Colonial Acres’ `workforce of one person` to maintain the property after the deal goes through. He said there is the possibility that the individual would become a town employee as time goes on.
The parcel will be removed from the tax rolls, he said, but Plummer said user fees generated by the course will also pay for maintenance and infrastructure. He said the fee structure will most likely remain the same as it is now, with both membership dues and pay-as-you-go fees.
`We’re hoping to make money, but I’m confident that we can at least break even,` he said.
The course will be open to residents and non-residents.
Other council members applauded the proposed acquirement.
`I haven’t seen any more practical way to preserve open space than what the town board has done with this golf course,` said Councilman Samuel Messina.
He noted the size and scope of the land that would be acquired if the deal goes through, and said, `I think the board felt that unless there was some creativity and some partnership, that would have gone the way of most open land ` being developed.`
Plummer said the Open Space Conservancy has some procedural items to complete before their agreement with the town can be finalized. `The most important thing for the public to understand is that although there is an agreement between the town and the open space institute, the open space institute still has to do two things: They have to complete a survey and they have complete an environmental assessment,` said Councilman Daniel Plummer. He said the environmental assessment had just been submitted and that the survey was scheduled to be completed within the next two weeks.
`If both of those are fine, then a closing will be scheduled and the transaction will occur. We’re definitely hoping that will happen.`
At the June 27 meeting, the town board also:
Accepted a donation of $10 to the D.A.R.E. program from Nancy Farr
Approved a bid process for biodegradable paper bags for the highway superintendent. The bid is scheduled to be advertised July 5, to be opened July 16.
Approved the disposal of vehicles at auction by Northway Auto Exchange, Inc. of Clifton Park.