Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Dunedin approves search for new country club management

DUNEDIN — After nearly two years of negotiations with the Dunedin Country Club, city officials Thursday approved a search for professional firms interested in managing the financially ailing club and a nearby golf course.

City leaders hope their Request for Proposal will entice companies with sufficient capital to rejuvenate the consolidated Dunedin Isles Golf Club, composed of the country club and St. Andrews Links. Both lost a combined total of nearly $1 million between 2006 and 2008.

The request, or RFP, will be "advertised to the golfing world" starting next week, said City Manager Rob DiSpirito, noting that at least three firms have already contacted the city. The City Commission, which will review the firm offers in October, still has the option of pursuing a revised agreement with the current club board, which has consistently asked for a less expensive lease on the city-owned land.

Before the RFP was unanimously approved, commissioners pressed for continued cooperation with the club's board in spite of recent controversy. Club treasurer Jack Norton submitted a letter of resignation last week citing "serious doubt" from members over his commitment to the club's "continued independence." And earlier this month, when paying the city in full for two years of back rent, club leaders asked the city to withdraw their name from the RFP.

"For what it's worth, we care about them an enormous amount," said Commissioner Julie Ward Bujalski. "They're suffering, like we are."

Mayor Dave Eggers implored the club board, whom he called "good caretakers of our property," to "have confidence in who they are."

Richard Singer, a National Golf Foundation consultant contracted by the city, said Thursday that he thought the RFP approval was a successful step in turning "the risk onto somebody else" who could potentially find profits with different management.

A report he presented in 2007 suggested the city withdraw its demand for club rent in exchange for a well-run course with "a lot of public purpose." The "fiscal condition of the club has continued to deteriorate" in the 22 months since his presentation, he said.

Former mayor Bob Hackworth, a vocal opponent of leasing concessions to the club, said he was elated the RFP pursuit had begun. He added the negotiations had been an "excruciating process" with "a lot of drama."

"When the RFPs are back … you'll have the facts of what the private marketplace can do," Hackworth said. "Getting it out the door is the beginning of that drama part ending."

Drew Harwell can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4170.

Dunedin approves search for new country club management 07/17/09 [Last modified: Friday, July 17, 2009 7:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Encounters: In the quiet of exam rooms, women have been saying 'Me too' for years

    Human Interest


    Meet her with her clothes on.

    Don't make her greet you in a paper gown, slits down the front and flimsy ties. Shake her hand, if she wants to, and introduce yourself. Pause between sentences. This will make it clear that you are listening; that you will listen, to whatever she has to say. Observe what …

     Pam Kelly, a gynecologist at Tampa General Hospital's Family Care Center at HealthPark, teaches future doctors at the University of South Florida how to identify and treat victims of sexual assault. Gabriella Angotti-Jones  | Times
  2. 'Days were lost': Why Puerto Rico is still suffering a month after Hurricane Maria


    MAUNABO, PUERTO RICO — Before Hurricane Maria tore through the rest of this island, it came to Mayor Jorge Márquez's home.

    A man wades through a flooded road, past a boat, in the Toa Ville community two days after the impact of Hurricane Maria in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. Because of flooding, thousands of people are being evacuated from Toa Baja after the municipal government opened the gates of the Rio La Plata Dam. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti) CGPR130
  3. With college looming, Channel Drive band finds a way to keep on rocking

    Human Interest

    A year and a half.

    That's the time Channel Drive, a band made up of local high school students, had to organize concerts, create music, produce an album and perform in front of audiences before three-fourths of the group were to leave for college.

    One of Channel Drive’s favorite venues is the Brass Mug in North Tampa. Here, from left to right, Colby Williams, Jacob Fleming and Ricardo Ponte command the stage while Alex Carr handles drums.
  4. Florida unemployment rate drops despite huge loss of jobs

    Economic Development

    Florida lost a whopping 127,400 jobs last month as Hurricane Irma swept through, according to state figures released Friday.

    Florida's unemployment rate dropped from 4 percent in August to 3.8 percent in September. Pictured is 
Shantia Blackmon (left),from St. Petersburg, talking with Jocelyn Kelley from North Carolina at a Pinellas Schools County Job Fair in June. | [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  5. Study: When you die, your brain knows you're dead


    Have you ever wondered what happens after you die?

    According to a new study from NYU, researchers say that a person's brain may function after their death. [iStockPhoto]