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Bringhurst Golf Course: A Proposal For Its Future
Earlier today, an anonymous writer on Cenla Antics reported that I had submitted a proposal about rehabilitating Bringhurst Golf Course. I'm not sure who this person is or who their source is, but yes, this is true. Considering that my brother Mark and I have dispersed between thirty and forty copies of our proposal, it's not too surprising that this would sneak its way onto the blogosphere. On May 27, Bob Tompkins of The Town Talk reported that Jamie Trotter decided not to renew his family's lease on the historic Bringhurst Golf Course in Alexandria. Although the Trotter family had kept the lease on Bringhurst for nearly fifty years, Jamie became frustrated with the crime in the area. He felt like it wasn't fun anymore to run the course. The next day, my brother and I were talking about the course's closure with a few friends of ours. Mark and his friends had all learned the game of golf at Bringhurst, and they all expressed a great vision for Bringhurst's future. It wasn't just the crime, they said. It was much more than that. In short time, I was convinced that they had a solid plan, a firm grasp of the course's pros and cons, and an understanding of the operations of a golf course. (Mark has previously worked in other golf courses in Texas and Louisiana). We drafted a short proposal and sent it over to Delores Brewer. Mrs. Brewer also understood the importance of the course. It bills itself as the oldest par three in the country. (While researching the course, we learned that it is actually the third oldest in the country. But it's still the oldest "this" side of the Mississippi River). We were able to retain the services of a reputable grant writer. From the beginning, we agreed to create a nonprofit organization to handle clubhouse management. We never intended on using the course as a way of personally enriching ourselves, and we recognized the challenges of rehabilitating the course as a private enterprise. We also believe that there is a public interest in the future of this course and that it is possible to rely on grants and private donations in order to pay for renovation costs. (It's worth noting that greens maintenance can be handled "in house" by the City of Alexandria. They have already retained the services of a professional greenskeeper at the Links Course, and he was amenable to tackling Bringhurst. Our entire proposal hinges on renovating the clubhouse and reenergizing its business). That said, this is not a done deal, and it will take the support of the community to realize this dream. The City Council will likely have to vote on this issue on July 5th. We hope the community recognizes the value of Bringhurst and supports our efforts. Our plans call for the following: 1. Improved lighting that facilitates night golf. (We spoke with Les Whitt today, and he'd also like to see night lighting at the zoo. If you light the place up at night, it will also help decrease crime). 2. A free wireless internet cafe and lunch/snack bar. 3. Golf club rentals. 4. A complete renovation of the clubhouse. Again, all of this, including renovation expenses, will be funded by private donations and grant money. 5. A putt-putt golf course constructed on the "wasted space" located near the parking lot. 6. 24-hour camera security. 7. An extended deck with tables and chairs. 8. A once-a-week frisbee golf game. 9. Improved signage and curb appeal. 10. Improved parking. 11. Company and charity-sponsored golf tournaments. As far as specific renovations and improvements to the course, the Links Course's greenskeeping services are phenomenal, and they will be able to dramatically improve the teeboxes, the fairways, and the greens. It's also worth noting that we'll be entering into a cooperative agreement with GAEDA in order to attract additional programs to the course, like the First Tee Program. If you have any questions or suggestions, we're all ears.