Greenfield has second shot at Meadows Golf Course
GREENFIELD — It looks like the town will have another shot at purchasing the 80-year-old Meadows Golf Course on Deerfield Street.
The Town Council gave the mayor the “go-ahead” Wednesday night after Mayor William Martin told councilors that a private buyer has backed out of the deal that stopped the town in its tracks a couple of months ago.
Martin plans to begin negotiations with the bank that owns the property and will return to the council for approval of a purchase price.
Since the beginning of the year, when the town learned the more than 50-acre property was for sale, Martin has talked about all of the different ways the town could use the property, including expanding the town’s wastewater treatment plant, building a dog or skate park there, leaving some as open space, and developing the waterfront part of the property as a park, to name a few.
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 could look at using a park grant to pay part 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.
The mayor told councilors he will be back with a purchase price, most likely within the next couple of months.
Originally, the mayor had asked the council to give him an idea of what it would be willing to pay for the property.
Wednesday night, former council President and Precinct 5 Councilor David Singer told the mayor and his fellow councilors that it would be better for the mayor to make a deal and then return to convince the council. The entire council agreed.
“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.
He said the property is considered “recreational chapter land” by the state.
Florence Savings Bank, which is selling the property, recently had it listed at $570,000. It is assessed at $552,098 by the town.
Martin said he believes the town can get it for less than the assessed amount.
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.”
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.
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.