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Oak Hills Authority looks to sit-down bar in park restaurant

From left, Oak Hills Golf Course superintendent Jim Schell, Oak Hills Park Authority Chairman Jerry Crowley and OHPA member Bill Waters talk to the Common Council Land Use and Building Management Committee on Dec. 6 in City Hall.

NORWALK, Conn. – Three bids have come in for the restaurant in Oak Hills Park.

Eviction proceedings have begun on current restaurateurs Amar Haouari and Vincent LaForte, Oak Hills Park Authority Chairman Jerry Crowley said Thursday.

The Authority is seeking approval for a sit-down bar in the restaurant building, although that is prohibited in its lease. A new operator for the restaurant may not initially pay the $6,800 a month that Haouari and LaForte have been paying, Crowley and OHPA member Bill Waters said recently, commenting that the new restauranteur will have build a bar and install new kitchen equipment.

LaForte and Haouri are two months behind on their rent and owe $10,000 in fines, Crowley said Thursday.

Haouari declined last week to comment. The pair’s attorney, Abe Heisler, did not respond to multiple attempts to contact him.

Haouari and LaForte should have received their initial eviction notice on Wednesday or Thursday, Crowley said Thursday, explaining that the eviction will be effective Jan. 15, the last day of their lease.

“I am assuming they will not pay the half month in January,” Crowley said.

Seven of nine RFP respondents recently met OHPA members at the park to get a look at the restaurant, but LaForte held the door shut, Waters and Crowley said after last week’s Common Council Land Use Committee meeting.

“We decided not to fight in front of all these people so we did it outside in the cold,” Waters said.

“We chose 10 o’clock in the morning because they weren’t open, there was nothing going on that day,” Waters said.  We thought we would walk people through the building.”

Waters and Oak Hills Golf Course superintendent Jim Schell said they gave LaForte and Haouari two weeks’ notice although the lease only says 24 hours is required.

“We’re finding out from that people were talking to that they think that $6,000 month is very high,” Waters said.

LaForte and Haouari have objected to the Authority’s plan to reduce the restaurant space in the building to make room for a pro shop. In November, they said that when they refused that plan, the Authority started giving them a bad time.

Crowley and Waters on Dec. 6 told the Land Use Committee that the pair ran up fines by not being open when the lease said they should be, resulting in the May meeting in Mayor Harry Rilling’s office that Haouari and LaForte referred to in November.

LaForte’s version of that story was that he and his partner were “a little late” paying the rent in March and were subsequently notified that the rent was “arbitrarily” being raised from $6,800 to $9,000, he said.

The pair have an option for two-five year extensions on their lease, but Authority members say they gave up that option in the mayor’s office. Rilling in November confirmed that account.

Minority Leader Doug Hempstead (R-At Large) asked during the Land Use meeting if that agreement was in writing. Waters said it was not, but Rilling and Assistant to the Mayor Laoise King were witnesses to the verbal agreement.

“They are in default now,” Waters said, indicating that the lease is no longer a factor.

Waters on Dec. 6 said potential bidders were offering other ideas, such as a percentage of sales instead of rent. Some were offering $4,500 a month or $5,000 a month.

“They have to build their own bar,” and invest money in kitchen equipment, Waters said.

Haouari and LaForte in November spoke of their investment in kitchen equipment, claiming they have lost the $150,000 they invested upfront.

Three bids came in on Thursday’s deadline, Crowley said, calling that good as, “We were looking for at least three.”

Details were not available, other than the names of the bidders, provided by Norwalk Purchasing Officer Sharon Conners:

  • Turn Services LLC (proposed)
  • Operators of the Dry Dock Bar & Grill and Joe Gallo
  • Peter Redei, Constantina Skeadas and Peter Skeadas

Response Summary-3764 Operator for Oak Hills Park Clubhouse Restaurant

Purchasing is “putting together the packages and hoping to get them to us tomorrow or Monday,” Crowley said, promising that all the information will be posted on the city’s website for the public to review.

The Authority has requested a change to its lease, hence the visit with the Land Use Committee.

“We are finding now, that reaching out to other restaurateurs to take over the food and beverage business that without a bar they don’t want the business. So we can’t attract anyone,” Waters said. “…Some were reluctant to even bid on the RFP because they don’t know if they can even have viable business on that property. So, one of the things we are looking for from the Common Council is to help us renegotiate our lease to allow things like a sit-down bar, in some fashion, which would be mutually beneficial to everybody.”

The opposition to a bar stems from “the old Oaks” bar, which was “sort of seedy” and unsafe, as people almost fell through the floor, he said.

The Oaks’ was run by people who were “not good restauranteurs,” Hempstead said.

“It did become a real big problem. it was more a problem after hours, late at night, they were open bar hours, 1 or 2 o’clock,” Hempstead said.

When the new building was constructed in 2004, “the local residents didn’t want a biker bar, which it’s not, it hasn’t been for 13 years,” Waters said.

The hours for a bar would be limited by the lease, and, “We want to make the restaurant be able to be competitive with any other restaurant in the city of Norwalk,” Waters said, explaining that the bidders weren’t looking at 11 p.m. or midnight or 1 a.m., but “whatever normal bar hours are in Norwalk and in Connecticut;” 9 to 10 p.m. on weekdays and maybe 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

“The contract says have to be there at 5:30 in the morning,” Crowley said, calling that a “tremendously long day.”

“They have been good neighbors to the neighborhood. So, it’s really worked out,” Crowley said.

“Given the location and neighborhood is not the kind of place people are going to hang out unless something special is going on,” Waters said. “They are not expressing desire to have a late night hang out.”

Other proposed changes to the lease involve “little things,” like the mobile beverage cart, which is used to serve beer on the course, Waters said.

“Technically, according to the lease, that’s not supposed to exist either,” he said. “But, we’ve had it for a number of years, we don’t see any reason why – I mean, we would be the only golf course in America that doesn’t have one.”

There also might be a provision in the renegotiated lease to allow an outdoor tent for functions, but in accordance with the noise ordinance, Waters said.

“So, it’s really just a sit-down bar, beverage cart, outdoor tent and hours of operation,” he said.

RFP bidders are putting in two proposals, one with a bar and one without a bar, he said.

Changes to the lease would require a public hearing, Land Use and Building Management Committee Chairman Thomas Livingston (D-District E) said.

The goal is to have the restaurant building reconfigured by April 1, Waters said, explain that the plan is to take 620 square feet of the existing grill room and convert the bar there into a pro shop; the retractable wall that is there now would be made into a permanent wall, with glass on the upper part and a chair rail-height wood, so that the golfers in the pro shop see the restaurant business.

Swing doors would invite golfers into the restaurant during the day, a cross pollination, he said.

The Zoning Commission’s Plan Review Committee last week indicated no objection to the plan.

The Authority has been asking Corporation Counsel to change the lease since February, Waters said. Although Authority members have sought to simplify the existing lease from 64 pages to 12, they’re now asking that the city expedite the approval of a bar so that the work can be done, and address other lease issues later, Crowley said Thursday.

The Authority owes the city $2 million, a payment of about $131,000 a year, Crowley said. The rent reduction to Haouari and LaForte has added up to about $100,000 that did not come in.

“It’s no secret. That building was built for $2.5 million, we had it appraised, and its appraised for about $1 million,” Crowley said.

Golf course revenues are up from last year, Crowley and Waters said.

Finance Director Bob Barron said at Thursday’s Finance Committee meeting that OHPA did not make its full $131,000 payment in September.

“They gave us $52,000 and then they owe us $79,000,” he said, attributing the deficiency to revenue lost while the park was being renovated.

OHPA members plan to pay the rest by June, at the latest, and promise to give an update in January when they have better idea of how they are weathering the winter, Barron told Council members.

From June to October, the golf course brought in $854,000 and expenses were $631,000, he said, and “Clearly, the course is bringing in more revenue than they are spending, for this period report, they are actually performing better than in the prior year.”

As for Haouari and LaForte, “It is supposed to be a family restaurant,” Crowley said. “They signed a lease to be a family restaurant and to serve the golfers, it’s right in the lease. A couple of years ago, they said, ‘We don’t want to do that, we want to do catering. We will be around to service lunch and dinner but if we have a party, they’re the first priority. It’s not working. That wasn’t a good business plan.”

With new operators, “the first thing is to you know take a hit, maybe the first year or two, get the service working and get people to now it’s there,” Waters said. “Get a good established business in there and then hopefully, if they’re good enough, they make enough money, we make enough money.”

31 comments

Piberman December 15, 2017 at 11:16 am

Since inception Oak Hills Restaurant has not provided sufficient profits to its various tenants. Why is that in a City of restaurants ? Could it be its location ? Seasonal operation ? Problems with the Authority, Tenants, City Hall, etc. ? Problems with inexperienced tenants ?

Here’s a suggestion. Why not build a separate building for the Authority’s administration to serve golfers. Then use the existing building as a restaurant/events business. And hope it pays a reasonable rent. After more than a decade of quibbling it ought not be too difficult to end the ongoing “Oak Hills drama”. Maybe City Hall should be in charge of the restaurant. They have lots of administrators.

will harris December 15, 2017 at 7:48 pm

I find it very humorous that, with all the articles lately on NoN and The Hour regarding the Oak Hills restaurant, only Peter Berman has an opinion and comments from anyone else do not exist. If he has all the answers, why doesn’t he run for Mayor or Common Council or a seat on the OHPA. It sounds like he can solve every problem.

Paul Cantor December 16, 2017 at 10:14 am

What has the OHPA been drinking? What are they feeding you, the taxpayer now? What new harebrained scheme have they come up with to find a way to cover the gaping hole between the user fees generated by the small minority of taxpayers who play golf and the cost of operating a golf course for their benefit at the expense of all of us?

Would you believe that it is a bar that will operate late into the night? Yes, so. But wasn’t there a bar in Oak Hills years ago that was shut down because neighbors objected to it? Yes, so? And wasn’t one of the reasons they objected to it because the noise it generated undermined the residential quality of the AAA residential neighborhood in which it was located? Yes, so. And aren’t there three schools within less than a mile of Oak Hills? Yes, so? And won’t the children attending those schools along with their parents be at greater risk from bar patrons driving home drunk? Yes, so? And isn’t it unlikely that the bar will generate the hoped for additional income?

Yes, so? And won’t the goal be to attract as many people to the bar as possible so that it will generate that income? Yes, so. Well didn’t people object to a Mosque being built on Fillow Street because of the traffic it would generate, especially at night? Yes, so?

So, isn’t a sit-down bar in Oak Hills as bad an idea as the idea to set up the Oak Hills Park Authority as an autonomous special interest group of golfers with their hands in taxpayers pockets in the first place?

Hard, call.

Yvonne Lopaur December 16, 2017 at 1:12 pm

“The Authority is seeking approval for a sit-down bar in the restaurant building, although that is prohibited in its lease.”

And it was prohibited for a reason! The bar would be located in a residential neighborhood. That is no place for a bar.

“The Authority has requested a change to its lease, hence the visit with the Land Use Committee.”

What are the changes it is requesting? It would be helpful if Nancy on Norwalk would publish the request for proposals so the public can be made aware of what is being requested. It is difficult if not impossible to find this information on the city’s website.

“So, one of the things we are looking for from the Common Council is to help us renegotiate our lease to allow things like a sit-down bar, in some fashion, which would be mutually beneficial to everybody.”

Beneficial to everyone? To people who don’t drink or play golf? To people who care about maintaining the residential quality of the residential neighborhood in which Oak Hills is located?

“’The opposition to a bar stems from “the old Oaks” bar, which was “sort of seedy” and unsafe, as people almost fell through the floor,’ he said.”

“The hours for a bar would be limited by the lease, and, ‘We want to make the restaurant be able to be competitive with any other restaurant in the city of Norwalk,’ Waters said.

Does the OHPA think it should be in the business of overseeing a restaurant that competes with restaurants in the private sector? How exactly is the restaurant going to benefit taxpayers? Is the money acquired from the lease going to be used to support the public schools or lower real estate taxes? Or is going to be used to subsidize a golf course that is used by less than 10% of residents and a host of golfers from New Canaan?

“Given the location and neighborhood is not the kind of place people are going to hang out unless something special is going on,” Waters said. “They are not expressing desire to have a late night hang out.”

So, what is being set up is a bar that is headed for a fall? Rather than make money it will loose money? Or? Help me out. I am confused.

Other proposed changes to the lease involve “little things,” like the mobile beverage cart, which is used to serve beer on the course, Waters said.

Of course, this is a serious issue. Forget about the schools. We want to be sure that our taxpayer dollars are used to make sure golfers can get just as liquored up as they’d like.

“Finance Director Bob Barron said at Thursday’s Finance Committee meeting that OHPA did not make its full $131,000 payment in September.” So the Authority receives a $1,500,000 grant from taxpayers and still can’t make the required payments on the money it borrowed from them? And the sit down bar is the solution to its problems?

“If they make money, we make money,” Waters said. Who is we?

Al Bore December 16, 2017 at 3:54 pm

I do not want a sit down bar in our AAA neighborhood at oak hills and I hope the city does not allow it. The west Norwalk association and CCNA needs to get involved with this since we can not trust our city government or OHPA. I do remember back in the day when they had a bar at oak hills and it was a disaster for the neighbors because it was a late night hang out place Mr. Waters. I live in the neighborhood so I speak facts not BS. I used to watch it all happen and do not wish to see it again. If you desire to be in the bar business do it in a area that is appropriate for one. If you want a place for golfers and neighborhood people to eat, give them good food breakfast, lunch, and dinner at a fair price and they will come.
I hate to admit this but for once and probably never to happen again I agree with Paul Cantor.

will harris December 16, 2017 at 6:24 pm

Wow! A lot of words from a few angry people. Show me the line item in the City budget where tax dollars go to Oak Hills. I have looked and I can’t find it.

Al Bore December 16, 2017 at 7:08 pm

Will, It is more about having a bar hang out in residential AAA area. I live here and I don’t want it because I remember when.

Paul Cantor December 16, 2017 at 8:28 pm

@ will harris. A $1,500,000 grant from taxpayers to cover capital costs. Those are taxpayer dollars. Taxpayer subsidized loans totaling more than $3.5 million dollars that have had to be restructured numerous times and are unlikely ever to be paid back. Those are taxpayer dollars. A $2,200,00 loan to construct the restaurant. A $75,000 loan to make improvements to the kitchen in the restaurant. A $1,087,582.50 loan to make improvements to the irrigation system and cart paths. And now the OHPA wants to spend more money to construct a sit-down bar on the wing and a prayer that in a number of years it may even rake in enough money to pay for the cost of constructing it.

Ernie DesRochers December 16, 2017 at 9:34 pm

Paul and Yvonne should move from the area since they hate Oak Hills so much. Paul says he is an economist. His house will never be worth more than now given there were three $1 million homes built next to him over the past 18 months. Cash in and take your wealth created by the golf course location!

Paul Cantor December 16, 2017 at 10:28 pm

@ Ernie DesRochers

How does your offensive ad hominem attack on my wife and me that accuses us (wrongly for your information) of hating golf address the issue of whether constructing a sit-down bar in the restaurant in Oak Hills Park is a good idea?

Paul

Karl December 17, 2017 at 1:40 pm

First of all Will and Ernie you are correct ! It just seems that any time Oak Hills does or wants to do something it’s the same 3-4 people with the same old issues. I was very happy that Paul is again on top of everything , did you get bored with the sanctuary city efforts ?

will harris December 17, 2017 at 3:14 pm

@Karl – good point. I guess that illegal immigrants don’t chew up “taxpayer dollars”. This world is full of hypocracy.

Tony P December 17, 2017 at 5:28 pm

@Ernie – Paul’s an economics professor that derives his salary (and soon to be pension) from the state taxpayers – ironic isn’t it?

And frankly, a little hypocritical as he parades around town with SUN, which among other things, looks to advocate for illegal immigrants who live on my dime as a taxpayer.

Thanks for playing Paul – I’ll waive as I drive by for my weekly round of golf/

Funny if it weren’t true…

Paul Cantor December 17, 2017 at 9:39 pm

@ will harris

Though your comment has as much to do with the issue at hand as Mr. DesRochers it should not be let go by the wayside.

Yes, the world is full of hypocrisy, scapegoaters, and ignorance. So in responding to people who claim “illegal” immigrants chew up taxpayer dollars the following information might be helpful:

As University of California Economics Professor, Gordon H. Hanson, put it in an article available on the web entitled The Economic Logic of Illegal Immigration: “[T]here is little evidence that legal immigration is economically preferable to illegal immigration. In fact, illegal immigration responds to market forces in ways that legal immigration does not.” Or as Alan Greenspan, put it to a Senate subcommittee: “[T]here is little doubt that unauthorized, that is, illegal, immigration has made a significant contribution to the growth of our economy…Some evidence suggests that unskilled illegal immigrants (almost all from Latin America) marginally suppress wage levels of native-born Americans without a high school diploma, and impose significant costs on some state and local governments. However, the estimated wage suppression and fiscal costs are relatively small, and economists generally view the overall economic benefits of this workforce as significantly outweighing the costs.” And as The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine noted: “When measured over a period of 10 years or more, the impact of immigration on the wages of native-born workers overall is very small.” And as University of California Economics Professor Giovanni Peri was quoted in a New York Times Magazine article entitled “Do Illegal Immigrants Actually Hurt the U.S. Economy?”: “In states with more undocumented immigrants, skilled workers made more money and worked more hours; the economy’s productivity grew.” And as the Congressional Budget Office indicated in a 2007 report on The Impact of Unauthorized Immigrants on the Budgets of State and Local Governments, “Over the past two decades, most efforts to estimate the fiscal impact of immigration in the United States have concluded that, in aggregate and over the long term, tax revenues of all types generated by immigrants—both legal and unauthorized—exceed the cost of the services they use.”

Bill McFarland December 18, 2017 at 9:04 am

Hello All:

Because Mr. Cantor is the only one to speak up, by all means does not mean he is the only one who is against this proposal. He is the only one with enough guts to speak up.

Instead of the OHPA concentrating on a bar and downsizing the restaurant building, which will ultimately get less rental income, to house a new golf pro shop (of which there is already a perfectly fine building) they should be concentrating on how they will be paying the bank, and City of Norwalk Taxpayers all the funds they owe them.

According to their financial reports which are posted online, they currently are $79,000 behind on paying back the already multiple times refinanced loan they owe, they will owe an additional $131,000 on the 2018 loan payment to the taxpayers and on top of all that whatever they use on the $200,000 line of credit they just took out on the property to make sure they had enough to pay the bills this winter from some bank that was dumb enough to lend it to them! By the way if they default on the bank loan who is ultimately responsible to pay it? lets see, THE TAXPAYERS OF NORWALK I would assume.

The OHPA better hope Tiger Woods wins every tournament he plays in this year and golf returns to the game it once was or writing the checks this spring will be very hard to do.

Sharon December 18, 2017 at 8:24 pm

@Bill McFarland – Tiger Woods?? What? Clearly you know nothing of golf these days. Tiger is washed up – get on board with the new class of PGA professionals. Fowler, Spieth, Thomas, Johnson, Berger – you know, that lot.The kind that Oak Hills is getting interested with the sport. The kind that are PLAYING Oak Hills. The kind that will SUPPORT a restaurant/bar that will cater to their needs. No one is talking about keeping a bar open all night, nor even late into the night. You could serve yourself well if you read the answers to the RFP. I did and cuz it’s public.

will harris December 18, 2017 at 8:33 pm

Again, I find it humorous that the Cantor’s, Borings, and McFarland’s have the answers to EVERTHING? If they know so much make a difference and run for something. It’s easy to criticize. It’s MUCH harder to make a difference.

Yvonne Lopaur December 18, 2017 at 11:40 pm

@Sharon

20% fewer people play golf today than played golf in 2005. More than 75% of them are older males. Furthermore, their income and wealth is far above average. And those who want to play golf in Norwalk can join the Silvermine Golf Club on Seir Hill Road or the Shorehaven Golf Club
on Canfield Avenue.
So, should Norwalk taxpayers be subsidizing the play of Norwalk golfers and golfers from New Canaan and other wealthier surrounding communities?

Here is the way Professor Roger Sparks and I put it some time ago:

People are allowed to use public parks in a variety of ways. They may hike, play frisbee, or have a picnic. They also generally do not have to pay for a walk in the park. Of course, public parks do have rules excluding certain activities, but those rules are far less exclusionary than the rules at golf courses and driving ranges. There you must pay to enter, and you are allowed to play golf and not do much else.

This level of exclusion might be deemed acceptable if the fees charged for golfing covered the expense of maintaining the golf course. After all, one of the activities typically excluded from the public park is golfing. So, one might argue that a section of a very large public park should be reserved for deserving, underserved golfers. However, when the market demand for golfing is too low to support a golf course financially, then the granting of such rights is very costly for the non-golfing public. They must give up access and financial resources.

As Dr. Yap puts it in his letter, public parks contribute to the quality of life in a community. We all benefit. A golf course, on the other hand, provides value to a small segment of the community. Furthermore, we can measure this value by the revenues the golf course generates. These revenues show what people are willing to pay for golfing. If we take those revenues and subtract the costs of operating the golf course, we get a measure of the net benefit (or net value) of the golf course to the community (excluding any externalities). If the net benefit turns out to be negative, then we would need to have a very compelling reason to use public land as a golf course.

We would need to be convinced that the rights of golfers supersede the rights of non-golfers to such an extent that a subsidy should go from the latter to the former.

Yvonne Lopaur
Roger Sparks, Ph. D

Sharon December 19, 2017 at 9:29 am

@Yvonne – Did you know that 98% of the people who comment on NoN don’t read what you and Paul write because you go on and on and on about statistics that have nothing to do with Norwalk? I don’t care about your national averages. My child plays golf, his friends play golf, Ed has built a very successful junior golf program. Millenials are out there on golf boards. You know nothing about Oak Hills GOLF.

Yvonne Lopaur December 19, 2017 at 3:20 pm

@ Sharon. I know one thing about Oak Hills Golf. Golfers at Oak Hills Park don’t
cover the costs of operating and maintaining the 18 hole golf course.
So they require millions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies.
And I know the OHPA wants to construct a bar in the restaurant in Oak Hills
because it hopes it will be able to lease it to a vender for so much money
that it will solve all its financial woes.

Bill McFarland December 19, 2017 at 5:11 pm

@Will:

By all means I don’t have the answers to everything. I would like to know the answers to:

1. How will the OHPA pay back $79k owed on the 2017 note in addition to the $131k on the 2018 note and all the money that will be owed on the line of credit to the bank to get through the winter and meet payroll and expenses when they couldn’t pay it this year?

2. Why the OHPA’s expenses have escalated so much higher then a few years ago?

3. Why the employees of the OHPA have gotten significant raises when the OHPA can’t pay back the taxpayers who foolishly lent them money?

Bill McFarland December 19, 2017 at 5:15 pm

@Sharon

Obviously my Tiger Woods reference went over your head as I was referring to when he was on top, golf was at a peak to the tune of millions of more golfers were playing the game then now because he was winning.

Golf has been on a serious decline since even with the new crop of golfers you say.

karl December 20, 2017 at 9:38 pm

I was just wondering , in Norwalk we have different parks to suit the needs of the vast population of Norwalk. Vets Park caters to boaters and mostly soccer and the Oyster festival. Calf Pasture is for beach goers, Taylor Farm is for dog walkers , Cranbury of nature activates . Yet we have such a uproar for a park that caters to another group of tax payers , the golfers !I thought that is what makes Norwalk so great, but i guess not! I don’t have a dog , I don’t have a boat , i don’t go to the beach , I haven’t gone to the Festival in 20 years. I haven’t been to Cranbury Park ( i should ) . You know what I PLAY GOLF !!!!!!! Oh but not to Paul and Yvonne , and the West Norwalk Group who will dictate what the rest of the taxpaying Norwalkers want! The rest of Norwalk has to bend over backwards to appease the West Norwalk Association , I don’t think so !!I live in East Norwalk and really don’t give a damm what the West Norwalk Association thinks !!!!!!!

Bryan Meek December 21, 2017 at 9:09 am

@Karl. That’s the really sad part of this. We subsidize over $3 million for all of these parks and we’ve been dumping millions upon millions on lit turf fields and boat launches. But when it comes to subsidizing golf for the 10,000 residents that use Oak Hills there is major outcry from a small handful, notably one person who hates the course and has been trying to kill it ever since he bought his house right across the street from it. He thinks the city should take it over so it can be his personal nature reserve. Of course this would cost taxpayers far more than the loans we are underwriting, but somehow that analysis always gets missed by the independent reporter.

Ed December 21, 2017 at 10:28 am

Restaurants and bars do well in downtown settings like the Wall Street area and SoNo. This location seems too out of the way. Does Oak Hills need fully functioning restaurant and bar? Maybe make the restaurant area a catering hall to be used for special events, and have food trucks there during the golf season.

Bill Mcfarland December 22, 2017 at 7:12 am

@Bryan:

“The 10,000 residents that use Oak Hills Park”? Surely you don’t mean 10,000 Norwalk Resident golfers? This is a very easy number to figure out and I assure you it is more like 2,000 or less out of 80,000+ people that reside in the City.

Just look at how many resident ID membership passes were sold this year at Oak Hills. So how many was it Bryan?

Bryan Meek December 22, 2017 at 8:34 am

@Bill. My ID# is over 10,000 and I got my card over 20 years ago and they were issued sequentially from 1. I don’t know what the current membership level is. The point being is that of all the subsidized parks and recreation activities, golf is near the bottom of what costs taxpayers money. One area that isn’t even in R&Ps budget is all the millions on bike lanes, bike paths, etc…that come out of other budgets to support the few 100 bicyclists who chose that as their form of recreation. This War on Golf by a few self interested needs to end. The intrinsic value of a full service golf course is huge for a city and this should be nurtured and cherished instead of the continued assault we have to endure by a very vocal minority.

Yvonne Lopaur December 22, 2017 at 12:24 pm

What does a sit-down bar have to do with golf?
And what is the reason that money the city receives from taxpayers or from leasing a restaurant building it owns and that was constructed with taxpayer money should be used to subsidize golfers rather than for other more compelling purposes?

Bill Mcfarland December 23, 2017 at 7:25 pm

@Bryan

Because you have a membership that’s around number 10,000 you think that there are 10,000 Norwalk residents that are current users of Oak Hills?

You can’t be serious right? Oak Hills issued #1 resident ID card in 1969 when they opened the golf course. I’m willing to bet any amount of money ID #1 is not utilizing the golf course these days.

It’s very simple, any oak hills employee or authority member reading this should be able to tell us on this posting how many 2017 Norwalk Resident ID cards were sold this year and there is your answer of how many of the 80,000 plus
residents of our City actually use the golf course.

Or is It a big secret so that the non golfing majority residents and our non golfing elected officials never figure It out?

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