$1.8M project to be funded by fee increases
The Gatlinburg Golf Course has some major changes in store that could begin as early as December, according to city manager Cindy Ogle who said that the $1.8 million project will include a new clubhouse and the renovation of five of its 18 holes.
Engineer Michael Smelcer presented plans for the new clubhouse at the Pigeon Forge Regional Planning Commission meeting Tuesday night, receiving a thumbs-up from the commissioners.
The $1.8 million price tag will be split up among local residents and tourists, but not necessarily the Gatlinburg taxpayer, Ogle said.
Once the renovations are complete, the course plans to implement increased membership fees, greens fees as well as cart fees to help cover the costs.
Ogle reported that the city would be selling bonds sometime this summer to pay for the renovations and clubhouse construction. In turn, the revenues generated from the increased fees will be earmarked to go towards repaying the debt, she said.
The plans call for renovations to five of the course’s 18 holes: #2, #6, #7, #11 and #13. The hole renovations will be handled by Bob Cupp & Associates of Atlanta, the same course designers that handled the course’s previous renovations in 1993.
This does mean, however, that these holes will be closed for an estimated nine months, including a majority of the 2007 summer tourist season. Ogle said that the other holes would remain open during that time.
In December of 2004 the Gatlinburg City Commission was busy in debate over what to do with the aging clubhouse, which is nearing 50 years old. At the time it was estimated that the cost of renovating the building would be more than simply building a new facility.
Ogle said that the building itself is in OK shape, but the building’s heating and air conditioning system and its plumbing needed major work. She added that the building’s overall design was not complementary to a golf course clubhouse.
The site plans for the clubhouse included a café area and pro shop, along with all the usual amenities. “Also, there would be a lot of outside patio spaces and deck area to accommodate outside dining and lounging,” Smelcer said, who described the proposed clubhouse as an “arts and crafts style building.”
“Were incorporating a new drive-in where vehicles can come in a drop their bags off and then park their cars,” he said.
Construction plans call for some of the building materials from the existing building to be reused. “We’re going to recycle the existing stone from the existing building and incorporate that in with some cedar siding and some shingles,” Smelcer said.
In the meantime, a temporary facility will need to be set up to accommodate the pro shop and keep the course running.
Ogle said that a preliminary schedule calls for construction to begin on the new clubhouse on December 1, with hole renovations starting later that month. She added that the preliminary numbers indicate that the whole project could take eight or nine months, wrapping up in July or August of 2007.