NORWALK, Conn. – A hefty loan payment has been made by the Oak Hills Park Authority, which predicts – again – that it will get through the winter without help from Norwalk.
No progress has been reported on the effort to put a practice range in the park.
The $281,000 payment to the city was made Sept. 3. That is an installment payment on nearly $3.1 million borrowed from the city several years ago to install cart paths and irrigation and to construct the building that is now home to the Oak Hills on the Green restaurant. The debt was restructured in 2011.
Oak Hills Park Executive Director Shelly Guyer said this week that he expects the park to have at least a $60,000 surplus by the time March comes around.
“The season has actually been pretty good,” Guyer said. “The revenue report I gave to the city: Our July year to date revenue report is up 7 percent vs. last year. Our expenses are actually lower than last year. On an overall basis, we’re doing much better.”
The park has employed fewer maintenance people, though it is now up to full staff, Guyer said.
“We went ahead and did things with less staff for a while,” he said. “We’re also down on what we call the administrative staff. Just managing the time a little better, I think.”
A retired Stamford woman who comes to Oak Hills “a lot” said the course has greatly improved.
“It’s so much better than it was two years ago,” Nancy Kekac said. “It’s unbelievable. I was talking to one of the greens people and I said ‘you guys are doing a great job.’ The greens are really fast. I played at Sterling Farms a couple of weeks ago – it has a reputation of being a really good course, and it was horrible. This place is so much better.”
The authority borrowed $150,000 from the city in February as a bridge loan to make it through the winter, although then-OHPA treasurer Pat Williams had assured the Board of Estimate and Taxation on Sept. 10, 2012, that the authority would not have a problem, according to minutes of the meeting.
Mayor Richard Moccia and others attributed the need for a bridge loan to Superstorm Sandy and other bad weather.
“They’re doing better financially,” Moccia said recently. “They paid their loan back at the beginning of the month. They’ve got cash in the bank. They’re getting more tournaments and things up there, and things. They’re starting to turn around.”
There was no report on the driving range at last week’s OHPA meeting because Ad Hoc Committee Chairman Ernie Desrochers was not present, according to a tape of the meeting.