Oak Hills Golf Course ‘doing much better’

Norwalk Oak Hills 092313 003
Jim Schell maintains the Oak Hills Park Golf Course on Monday.

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.


9 responses to “Oak Hills Golf Course ‘doing much better’”

  1. Paul Grillo

    Prior to Nancy on Norwalk quoting derogatory comments from random people about a direct competitor of the business she is doing a story on, she may want to come and visit Sterling Farms and see why it gets voted year in and year out the “best public golf facility in Fairfield County” by the golfers and golf industry professionals in the tri state area.

    This year Sterling Farms will host over 55,000 rounds of golf, almost double any other golf course in the area. The golfing and non golfing readers of Nancy may want to come and make there own decision on the facility and why so many enjoy it.

    Paul Grillo
    Executive Director
    Sterling Farms Golf Course

  2. Norwalk Spectator

    Good for you, Oak Hills. This has been a uphill battle and a lot of people have worked hard to make this happen.

  3. TKL

    @Paul Grillo
    Really? Derogatory? That’s one persons opinion. It wasn’t a representative from Oak Hills, it was a golfer. Geeesh! People are so damn overly sensitive. If you have 55K rounds why even bother responding?

    and F.T.R: I happen to like Sterling Farms.

  4. EveT

    Glad the golf course is in such great shape. Now what will it take to get that small wooded area designated open space?

  5. Oldtimer

    Sounds like good news. It would be better to see more detail. Both the restaurant and the golf course would probably bring in a lot more if properly marketed. The commission might do well to find a good marketing/pr firm.

  6. Joe Espo

    This is certainly bad news for those tree-hugging birkenstockers who want to shut the place down.
    Eve T: the whole course can be your open space: play golf or wear a helmet.

  7. Don’t Panic

    Did OHPA defer their escrow payment, or was that paid on time too?

  8. Norwalk Lifer

    To emulate the illustrious Joe Espo, if Oak Hills were run by disadvantaged, minorities, would the 381 million in loans be so “matter of fact”? and would the 281K payment be presented as an “after thought”? were there events of rife corruption at Oak Hills that led them to default on their payments?

    Seriously, I could not resist, and insofar as tree hugging Birkenstock wearers are concerned, the comment has an air of antiquitiy about it.

    I would remind the readers here, without trees, you don’t breathe, in fact, you couldn’t grow anything, show some respect for what keeps you alive, even though it’s not in your face daily demanding it.

    Unless of course, it’s a hurricane

    Norwalk Lifer

  9. Suzanne

    Maybe but I think we all should wait until, what was it last year? January or February? Let’s see how the OHPA is handling its finances then. If they don’t ask for a loan from the City of Norwalk, a cautious celebration is in order.

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