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WARREN Members named to mull ideas for Avalon



Published: Thu, February 21, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The three-person committee will meet often, its chairman said.

By AMANDA C. DAVIS

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- A new city council committee is in place to mull the administration's suggestions on the future of the city-owned Avalon South Golf Course.

Council president Doug Franklin named Brendan Keating, D-5th, chairman. Other members are Gary Fonce, D-at-large, and Doc Pugh, D-6th.

The committee is to dissect Mayor Hank Angelo's recommendations that include forming a five-member parks board to run Avalon South, which he's proposing be renamed Avalon South Golf Park.

The committee also will weigh available options and make recommendations of its own.

Options council members have outlined include selling Avalon South, or having it managed by the city, a parks board or a private company.

Franklin said it's important the committee make regular reports of its conclusions to council's finance committee and the full council.

Qualifications: He added that he chose Keating as chairman because he worked summers at Avalon and is familiar with operations. Keating's legal background as an attorney also will help, Franklin said.

"We're going to have to meet often," Keating said. "And quickly."

The committee will assess the situation, gather all relevant information and look at things such as what it would take to form a parks board.

To do this, he said, the committee will need records of all of Avalon South's income and expenses over the years.

Keating said he's glad Franklin chose Fonce and Pugh, who he called "go-getters."

Pugh was picked because he helped with much of the financial research that prompted managerial changes at the course, Franklin said, and Fonce is the one who called for a committee to be formed.

Pugh said he wants to see a long-range plan in place for operations and hopes short-term decisions can be made to ensure Avalon South is ready for the upcoming season.

"All we're in search of is the truth," he said.

Managing the course: Fonce said he has requested legislation that would allow the city to look into how much it would cost to find someone to manage the course.

He said he wants the committee to work hand-in-hand with the administration to find the best resolution.

"There's so many unanswered questions," he added. "I want answers."

The city has evicted Tony Joy Jr., who has run the troubled course since the 1980s.

Officials have said he's behind on rental payments to the city and for some property taxes.

Joy, who has until Friday to vacate, has disputed many of the city's claims and said he is deciding what his legal options might be.

City council has already taken steps to pay off Joy's loan and is considering whether to buy equipment to run the course.

The FBI is looking at operations at Avalon as part of its ongoing investigation into city projects and departments.

davis@vindy.com




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