Today’s news:

Trump to operate Ferry Point Park golf course

Bronx Times

The Bronx’s newest golf course will be run by The Donald.

On Friday, December 23, Parks commissioner Adrian Benepe announced that the city had agreed on a 20-year lease with the Trump Organization to operate the golf course at Ferry Point Park. The Trump Organization will put a minimum of $10 million into designing and building a clubhouse to go with the 18-hole, links-style course, which is expected to be finished in 2013. The clubhouse will include a grill room, locker facilities and a cart-storage facility.

To residents who have seen the Ferry Point golf course project stalled for decades, the announcement is a signal that the first tee off is finally imminent.

“I know the golf course has been through years of ‘off again on again’,” Councilman Jimmy Vacca said. “When I heard Donald Trump had gotten the concession to operate this golf course, I knew all systems were go and this is going to be a reality.

“I’ve never met him, but knowing his reputation I don’t think he’ll tolerate many bureaucratic delays.”

The project was originally conceived by former Councilman Michael DeMarco in 1977. After numerous delays, Mayor Michael Bloomberg allocated funds for the course in his 2008 capital budget. Its budget was $57 million at that time, but that figure has since ballooned to $97 million, according to a Parks spokesman, who cited disposal of landfill waste and environmental infrastructure monitoring requested by the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation, as reasons for the cost increase.

“I never thought I’d see it done,” said former Councilwoman Madeline Provenzano, who preceded Vacca. “I think the snafus will be taken care of. There’s money there now.”

To Lynn Gerbino, president of the Throggs Neck Homeowners Association, the confirmation of the fact that the course will open in the foreseeable future is a relief.

“At least there’s a positive date in sight,” she said. “It was always in the future, two or three years off.”

Gerbino said the allure of the course is a potential boost to the area’s economy.

“We’ll take Mr. Trump. We’ll welcome him,” she said. “And hopefully we’ll have some jobs here in the community.”

Parks estimated that building the new clubhouse alone will create 100 construction jobs.

“The Trump Organization is known for operating world-class golf courses, and I’m excited to be able to partner with them to build and run the first tournament-quality golf course in New York City,” Benepe said in a statement.

The company also operates Wollman and Lasker ice skating rinks in Manhattan, and 10 golf courses around the world.

“The residents of NYC will be very proud of the end result which will include championship tour play, with all of its benefits, right down the road,” Trump said in a statement.

Bill Weisbrod can be reached via e-mail at wweisbrod@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3394.

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