The Smithville Municipal Golf Course and Swimming Pool may soon change hands again.
After only two years as a tenant, Farron Hendrix, doing business as Smithville Golf Management LLC has given notice to the mayor and aldermen of his intentions to terminate the lease agreement with the city, effective October 23rd.
In a letter to city officials, Hendrix writes that the golf course is no longer economically viable for his operation. "Smithville Golf Management, LLC entered into the lease with the intent to improve and maintain a beautiful city asset for the benefit of the citizens of Smithville, our school and community golf leagues, and to attract visitors and industry to our community. We also entered into the lease, not for personal gain, but with the hopes of maintaining the golf club as a non-profit entity. However, due to the downturn in the economy, extreme weather conditions, increased competition from surrounding courses, and increased expenses, we can no longer manage this city property at our own personal expense."
"We are very proud of the many improvements that we have made during our lease agreement; improved fairways, additional tee boxes, new trees, cleaner pond, refurbished sprinkler system, and updated facilities, just to name a few. However, our tax records prove that we have lost and continue to lose money each year in the management of the property. Therefore, it is with regret that we terminate our lease agreement with this sixty day notice."
Hendrix goes on to state in the letter that the Smithville Golf Management, LLC is willing to sell equipment and supplies to the city at a reduced assessed value for continued management of the golf club. He adds "Smithville Golf Management, LLC also agrees to assist the city in the management of the golf club until the new management can be secured."
In August, 2008 the Smithville aldermen, by a vote of 3-2 voted to accept Hendrix's bid to become the new tenant at the golf course and swimming pool, effective September 1st, 2008.
Hendrix bid $750 per month for the term of the lease, which was to be for a five year period from September 1st, 2008 until August 31st, 2013.
Smithville Alderman Stephen White, who is also the city's representative on the golf course board, told WJLE Saturday that it's unfortunate that yet another tenant at the golf course is giving up the operation for economic reasons. "We've had four tenants at the golf course over the last few years and it's sad that due to the economy, they've not been able to make money."
White says the city must come to a decision soon on what course of action to take concerning the golf course and pool, whether to try leasing it again, or for the city to assume the operation of it. "I'm inclined to think it would be best for the city to take it back over. Our residents deserve recreation that the golf course and swimming pool provide, it's vital to our community and industries, and we need to keep it going."