Now that Old Avalon Golf Course has reopened, it's up to the city to make sure the terms of the contract are being followed.
Old Avalon is a Trumbull County landmark. Nearly a century old, the golf course has been home to local leagues that serve thousands of golfers, local high school teams, and scores of golfing families. It has even drawn legendary professionals such as Ben Hogan. Reopening this year brought a sigh of relief from the more nostalgic members of the golf community.
Avalon South Management Co. LLC, which is owned by Petrozzi Accounting, is the city's new tenant to manage the course. The new management re-opened the course this month. It had been closed since fall of 2012.
In fall of 2012, the city of Warren evicted the former golf course manager for not paying rent since 2006. But after six years, it's more accurate to say the city failed to collect the $320,000 in rent.
The same problem will surface if Warren does not enforce the terms of its lease this time. Most importantly, Petrozzi is required to make monthly payments equivalent to the property taxes but not less than $2,846.16. Beginning in 2018, the payments increase $6,000 per year over the next 10 years. The manager is responsible for cleaning, painting, decorating, plumbing, carpentry, grounds care and repair work.
Here are some more important terms in the lease:
l Reduced rate on greens fees to city residents
l Youth golf activities at no or reduced costs
l Providing home golf facilities for Warren City Schools golf teams.
We're not convinced the city should own a golf course. We offer historical problems, including criminal activity, at Old Avalon as proof.
But the lease with Petrozzi accomplishes several important matters. Taxpayers can stop paying for the routine upkeep and will no longer be on the hook for more than $30,000 per year in property taxes.
The public course on East Market Street in Howland, at the very least, should not be a drain on the city as long as Mayor Doug Franklin, Service Director Enzo Cantalamessa and future administrations enforce the lease. Petrozzi made its first payment this month. That's a start.