The city’s awarding of a contract to operate the Ferry Point Golf Course concession has been met with some criticism due to a perceived “sweetheart” deal, some media outlets reported.
But community leaders and elected officials in Throggs Neck appear to be fully supportive of the deal giving the Trump Organization the concession for the long-awaited, still-to-be completed golf course.
Community Board 10 chairman John Marano and Throggs Neck Home Owners Association president Lynn Gerbino, among others, offered testimony in support of awarding the Requests for Proposals to the Trump Organization during a public hearing of the Franchise and Concession Review Committee and the Parks Department on Monday, January 9.
“We had almost given up hope that it would be built in our lifetime, when we received word that the Trump Organization was interested in, had bid upon, and had won the concession at that location,” Gerbino said in testimony. “All I can say is that we are ‘happy…happy…happy’ that a successful and proven entity such as Mr. Donald Trump’s organization will finally finish a project that has languished for many years!”
If Trump’s flourishing golf courses and other projects are any indication of how Ferry Point will fare, the community will in that the Trump Organization is an excellent sponsor to oversee the operation, management and maintenance of the proposed 18-hole Jack Nicklaus golf course, driving range and ancillary facilities and the design, construction, operation, management and maintenance of a permanent clubhouse at Ferry Point Park, Gerbino stated.
According to a memorandum sent to Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and Community Board 10 from the Parks Department announcing the hearing, the Trump Organization will pay no concession fee for the first four years of a 20-year agreement, and there after pay fees ranging from $300,000 in year five to $470,000 in year 20.
Trump’s running of the 18-hole, Jack Nicklaus Signature designed golf course, driving range, club house, and facilities has drawn some criticism because fees to play a round of golf will be more expensive than at surrounding municipal golf courses, and the community is concerned about the cost, but there are also other considerations, Marano said.
“It would bring to the area people who would be able to pay the fee and then patronize our quality restaurants and shops on the commercial strips on E. Tremont Avenue, Westchester Avenue, and City Island,” Marano said. “We share everyone’s concerns about the fees, but we hope that they do come here and play, and that when the golf course opens we can have big names and opens in Ferry Point.”
Having names like Trump’s and Jack Nicklaus’ associated with the project could raise the image the entire community, and should be scenic improvement for residents of the Throgs Neck Houses, Marano said.
Councilman Jimmy Vacca, who was an early supporter of the Ferry Point golf course as CB 10 chairman when the course was first proposed in 1979, and later as CB 10 district manager when the project was finally approved in the 1990s, said he wants to see the project completed and believes it is the best use of parkland. Details will need to be worked out in coming months, Vacca said.
“I don’t care if it is Donald Trump or Donald Duck, I want this thing finished,” “Now that they have selected Trump, we are moving closer to the day when the course will open.”
At a press conference in Hunts Point on Monday, January 9, Mayor Bloomberg said that there were only three bidders on the project. According to the Parks Department, the Trump Organization has committed to a $10 million investment to build a state-of-the-art golf clubhouse with amenities that include a cart-storage facility, locker rooms, and a grill room.