I write to update you on a significant accomplishment of the City Council that will protect and improve one of Alameda's public recreation facilities for many years to come - the Chuck Corica Golf Complex. After years of planning and discussion, the City Council has moved forward with a plan that ensures the long-term sustainability of a substantially-improved golf course with 45 holes of golf.
As many of you know, in May 2007, the City retained the services of the National Golf Foundation (NGF) to conduct a comprehensive operational review of the Chuck Corica Golf Complex. The study was conducted during a six-month period, and the results were presented to the City Council in January 2008. The NGF report found that the Complex would need approximately $10 million in improvements to stay competitive with other golf courses in the area. Of this amount, $2 million was for a new banquet facility, while the remaining $8 million was for renovating the North and South Courses, the Driving Range, the restrooms, the entryway to the Complex, and various maintenance facilities.
Following the report, the then-Council selected KemperSports Managment as interim manager of the golf course and issued an RFP seeking a long-term operator for the golf course. In January 2011, early in my term, the Council held a special meeting on golf in order to discuss moving forward with a long-term lease for the facility. The Council convened another special meeting in April 2011 discussing a revised Kemper proposal and hearing a proposal from Harbor Bay Isle Associates ("HBIA") to exchange land it owned for the land occupied by the Mif Albright course - now infamously known as the "land swap" - wherein HBIA would pay for much-needed sports fields on the swapped land and build homes on what is now, and forever will be, the Mif Albright land. The Council asked staff to investigate the proposal further, as, for many of us, there were many unanswered questions.
Many of you in the community expressed to me your opposition to the prospect of losing precious open space and park land, in telephone calls, letters, emails, and at various events across the City. I held two Town Hall events on the subject to allow all of you to express these concerns about the "land swap" and inform city staff about the public's opinions on the proposal. I was impressed by the knowledge and passion of our community on this subject. Ultimately, I was proud to second the motion to kill the land swap, a motion the Council unanimously passed, and authorize staff to negotiate with KemperSports and Greenway Golf regarding proposals for long-term management and improvement of the Golf Course. Our youth's desperate need for sports facilities would have to be addressed on a separate track unrelated to the golf course.
With saving our open space and recreational space complete, the Council still had to wrestle with the long-term future of the Golf Course. On May 15, the Council heard from both KemperSports and Greenway Golf, plus a number of community members, about their plans for the Golf Course. I came away impressed with Greenway's proposal and seconded the motion to select Greenway as the course's long-term operator. Greenway's proposal includes a complete remodel and redesign of the Jack Clark (south) course, creating a links-style course. Greenway also plans on improving the Earl Fry (north) course by installing a complete drainage system and renovating the bunkers. Greenway's proposal keeps all 45 holes of golf, including the Mif Albright Course. Most important to me, as a father of three young children who will inherit the environment we impact, was Greenway's commitment to a "green" approach to golf. Greenway uses a minimum of chemicals and water while still maintaining high standards for turf - in short, Greenway's plan to plant Kikuya grass on both courses maximizes playing conditions and allows for the highest level of environmental benefits for the course. For more information, here is Greenway's response to the City's RFP, Q&A follow-up, and proposal addendum.
The decisions the Council has made with regard to golf and preserving the crown jewel of our City's recreational facilities are ones we all can be proud of. I want to personally thank each and every one of you who contacted me and shared your thoughts on this very important issue. In partnership, we were able to arrive at a plan to preserve open space and ensure that our children enjoy this valuable resource for many years to come.
With great appreciation and respect,