By Wes Wolfe

Florida Politics

The Fernandina Beach City Commission has committed the city to three more years managing the municipal golf course.

The plan received vocal support before it was presented to the commission.

“I was able to meet with the new director and assistant director of the Parks and Recreation Department, and I was quite impressed by their program that they have for overseeing the golf course,” city Golf Course Advisory Board member John Pelican said. “I think both golfers and taxpayers will be happy with their oversight. I believe they can succeed in that mission, but I believe it will take your support.”

With the commission’s backing, the contract picks up where the present one runs out in 2023 and goes through Oct. 1, 2026.

“That would allow myself and staff to be able to hire leadership in that division, so that we can get someone that would want to come here and not just be here for less than a year,” new city Parks and Recreation Director Catherine Vorrasi said.

The city took temporary management of the course in May 2021 with city officials later deciding to extend that to Oct. 1 of this year, and in April moving that termination date out another year to 2023 on the recommendation of the advisory board.

Commissioner David Sturges said, “The golf course has been improving steadily since we’ve taken back management of it. It has been profitable this year, versus other years it hasn’t been. The staff has worked very hard — they’ve been very productive.”

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anne (@guest_66310)
4 months ago

What is being decided about the driving range?

Dave Anderson
Dave Anderson (@guest_66313)
4 months ago

Being a regular golfer at FBGC, I am very concerned about what the condition of the golf course will be if the current manager of the golf course, Mike Cooney, does not stay on to manage it. Maintaining and improving the condition of the course requires expertise and experience which Mike C. has clearly demonstrated. He is a “top notch” professional and not including him is a big mistake.

Alan Prescott
Alan Prescott (@guest_66345)
4 months ago
Reply to  Dave Anderson

Let the truth be told, Mike Cooney is the best golf professional that FBGC could ever hope for. Under his wing and with the expertise of Golf Course Superintendant Blaine Ellerbe, the course at FBGC has improved significantly. However, the political hack know-it-alls, who know little about running a golf course are likely to prevail. The City Managers know little about running a golf course. I wrote article after article about how to make a profit and return money to lessen the taxpayers’ burden, most of which has apparently fallen on deaf ears. Election day is tomorrow. Let’s use out votes to eliminate the dead weight in the City government. I feel that all of you are blinded by your own egos.

DAVE LOTT (@guest_66342)
4 months ago

Not sure about the validity of Comm. Sturgis’s comment about the profitability of the golf course. The budget report presented at the October 18 Commission meeting had conflicting numbers. While both pages were marked “preliminary”, Page 5 showed a profit of $45,351 while Page 6 showed a loss of $49,319 – a swing of almost $100,000. 

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