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Panel will devise course plan



Published: Fri, February 22, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



City council's recently formed Avalon committee will meet at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

By AMANDA C. DAVIS

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- The easiest thing for Mayor Hank Angelo would be to recommend the city sell Avalon South Golf Course.

But he can't do that, he says.

He thinks it can operate without a loss and says the course is essential to Warren's quality of life.

Discussion about what to do with the course continued Thursday during a city council finance committee meeting.

A newly formed Avalon South committee is charged with dissecting the administration's suggestions. The committee chairman, Councilman Brendan Keating, D-5th, has called a meeting for 9:30 a.m. Saturday at North Perk coffee shop on North Park Avenue.

Mayor's idea: On Thursday, Angelo reiterated his suggestions that a five-member parks board be formed to run 15 city parks, including Avalon.

This option would provide the greatest financial potential and allow for a conservative, long-term return, officials say.

The unpaid board would have 5-year terms, serving under the authority of city council. Three members would be appointed by the mayor, with council's approval, and two could be city school board members or appointees of the school board.

Council would pass the board's budget, Angelo said, and $230,790 would be needed for staffing, including a golf course pro, mechanic, seasonal employees and a bookkeeper.

The finance committee watched a presentation by Angelo and his cousin, Tom Angelo, director of the city's Water Pollution Control Center, who will be handling some Avalon South matters once the eviction of Tony Joy becomes official.

The mayor showed that Avalon South, when compared to other municipal courses, is not a money pit.

Other options the city faces are to sell the course or have someone else manage it.

School's concerns: The mayor said Howland school officials are worried about the loss of property taxes to the district if council decides to go with a parks board.

He added it's possible the city could work out an offer that would allow students to use the course for free. He didn't indicate whether he meant individually or on teams.

Lynn Gibson, vice president of Warren board of education, was apprehensive about getting involved if council decides it wants a parks board.

City schools don't receive any taxes from the course like the Howland and Mathews schools do, she pointed out. She questions whether the city would better be served by asking one of the other districts.

Ron Klingle, CEO of Avalon Holdings, which operates Avalon Lakes golf course across the street, told the committee he doesn't think the course will make a lot of money without spending a lot of on improvements, because of drainage and other problems.

The lack of equipment would be the city's most immediate concern, he added.

Klingle said he thinks he has a good chance of drawing a PGA-type tournament to Avalon Lakes but would need ample parking.

He said he's interested in buying Avalon South for that purpose.

Councilman Dan Polivka, D-at-large, said despite recent financial problems, Avalon South is the only park the city hasn't been dumping money into.

Councilman John Homlitas, D-3rd, said anything short of selling the course will create expenses that outweigh revenues.

Councilman Brendan Keating, D-5th, reminded his colleagues the course isn't in bad shape and has good features.

"It's one of the better courses around."

davis@vindy.com




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