Mayor serious about purchasing Meadows Golf Course
GREENFIELD — With the new year begun, the mayor plans to start serious discussions with Town Council about buying the 80-year-old Meadows Golf Course on Deerfield Street, which he said could be used many different ways, including as a toddler water park, a paddle boat park, a dog or skate park and to expand the town’s wastewater treatment plant, or a combination of those.
“We could even put a carousel or mini Ferris wheel there,” said Martin. “There are endless opportunities for that property.”
Martin said the property brings in only $12,000 a year in real estate taxes to the town, so Greenfield wouldn’t be losing a lot by purchasing it and taking it off the tax rolls.
“We would be looking at using a park grant to pay the purchase price,” said Martin. “The property is an entryway to Greenfield, so it could end up being a big draw to residents and visitors.”
Martin said some people have suggested that the building, which was used as the golf course’s clubhouse, could be used for town meetings and events and that the town could also rent space to others to hold their meetings and events.
Martin said some other ideas being tossed around include having a chip and putt or miniature golf course there.
“We may also be facing, in the near future, a mandate from the state to build another tank at our wastewater treatment plant,” said Martin. “We have no land to do that on, so this would be perfect.”
Martin said the town could build the tank on a small piece of the Meadows property and still have plenty of room for some of the recreational ideas people are tossing around.
“The property is on a flood plain, so there’s not a lot that could be built on the back part of the property, but a lot of the other ideas could end up closer to Deerfield Street,” said the mayor.
Martin said if the town buys the property, it would be preserving about 50 acres of river frontage, because most of it would be used for recreation only.
Martin said it is also possible that a retailer would want to lease the clubhouse, because the property is zoned commercial.
The mayor said another possibility would be for the town to purchase the property, keep the piece of land closest to the wastewater treatment plant, and sell the rest, either to one or several people.
Martin said the property is considered “recreational chapter land” by the state, so the town will have first right of refusal if the bank holding the mortgage on the property finds a buyer.
“We don’t have to rush,” he said. “Unless, the bank finds a buyer.”
The nine-hole golf course is listed on loopnet.com, a commercial real estate listing website, as a “distressed” property that needs lender approval for a short sale, which is what the owner, listed as 5&10 Entertainment LLC, is seeking.
“Distressed” in this context typically means that the owner owes more than the property is worth, and a short sale requires permission of the lender, who is listed in town records as Florence Savings Bank.
Martin said he has talked with the bank, which currently has possession and said the bank is marketing the “abandoned” property.
According to town assessor records, the property at 398 Deerfield St. is assessed at $552,098. The price listed on loopnet.com is $570,000, but it is not clear how much is owed on the mortgage.
Martin said he is not yet sure what the town would have to pay to buy the property, but hopes it would be less than the asking price.
The golf course and clubhouse were severely damaged after Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011.
The most recent owner, Terri White, decided at that time to rebuild the course and renovate the clubhouse, but since then periodically said that there was “so much work to be done.”
White could not be reached for comment.
She bought the Meadows in late 2008 or early 2009, but never purchased flood insurance. The entire golf course ended up under water during Irene and months later many greens were still buried in mud.
White said in an earlier interview that the clubhouse’s basement was destroyed, along with freezers, refrigerators and soda and draft lines that were down there.
Golfers never got back on the course until late 2012.
Gary Noga, Daniel Majewski and John Stacy owned the golf course for 15 years before selling it to Alexandra and David Nunez in 2005 for $1.2 million. In 2008, there was a foreclosure sale and the course never opened that year.
“The town should really think about this,” said Martin.