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Select Board Discusses Improvements and Issues at Pinecrest

by Matt Ristaino
July 23, 2019

The Select Board discussed various issues regarding the Pinecrest Golf Course at its meeting Monday evening. Representatives from the Golf Course Advisory Committee, the Pinecrest Clubhouse Committee, and Anthony’s on the Green all gave presentations to the Board.

The biggest issue that the facility is currently facing is the inadequate kitchen. Jay Robinson, of the Pinecrest Clubhouse Committee, called the kitchen the “heart” of the facility, and said that “it has reached the end of its useful life.”

Mike Ficco, who runs Anthony’s on the Green, agreed, saying that the kitchen is not built for the business that Anthony’s does now, especially large events. The inadequate kitchen and storage space means that the restaurant needs to be closed to the public while large events are being held in the clubhouse.

Mike Ficco of Anthony's on the Green speaks with the Board.

The Pinecrest Clubhouse Committee is developing a plan to renovate the clubhouse, focusing specifically on the kitchen. Robinson said that there are three options available to the town: do nothing and simply maintain the existing facility, renovate the kitchen and expand the storage area, or build a new permanent structure to replace the tent that is on the property, in addition to renovating the kitchen.

The committee will present a formal report with cost estimates for each option to the Select Board by August 19th, which means a construction plan could be considered at fall Town Meeting in October.

There was also the issue of deciding what the primary function of the clubhouse should be. Robinson said that his committee concluded that it should focus on serving the golfers at the course and hosting events, and that the public restaurant aspect should be secondary. This is mainly because the entire facility’s primary source of revenue is golfers using the course.

On the other hand, Ficco said that golfers only account for about 20% of the restaurant’s revenue, since they do not come to the facility year-round. He said that the majority of his revenue comes from hosting private functions.

Deborah Moore of the Golf Course Advisory Committee and Bill Harrison of New England Golf address the Board.

Another issue that was brought up was Anthony’s operating hours. Currently, the restaurant is only open for lunch and dinner, and is occasionally closed for private functions. Deborah Moore of the Golf Course Advisory Committee said that they have received complaints from golfers that the restaurant is often closed while the course is busy. Ficco said that they have been open for breakfast in the past, but it was almost always empty.

Board member John Cronin said that he wants to see better communication between Ficco and Bill Harrison of New England Golf, which operates the golf course (but not the restaurant). Both Ficco and Harrison were present at the meeting, but Ficco said that they had not met face-to-face before.

Cronin implored Ficco and Harrison to sit down as soon as possible and discuss how to best serve the needs of the golfers while keeping the restaurant profitable and upholding the language in their respective contracts with the Town.

Board chairman Mark Ahronian was absent from Monday’s meeting. Vice chair John Cronin (center) filled in as chairman.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Sharon Stahl of High St. told the board of her concerns about the large amount of industrial traffic on High St., much of which exceeds the road’s weight limit. Board member Tina Hein recommended that Stahl contact the police department with her concerns.

Paul Sauliner asked the board about the status of the project to replace the front doors of Town Hall. Town Administrator Jeff Ritter said that the project is more complicated than the Town originally anticipated and the contract will need to be re-bid.

Hein thanked the Parks and Recreation Department for their work at Stoddard Park last weekend during the extreme heat, and Cronin thanked the town’s emergency responders for their services during the fatal accident downtown on July 13th.

In other business, the Board approved the new fee schedule for the Building Inspector’s department, formally disbanded the 8 Arch Bridge Committee, and extended the Town’s contract with the MWRTA.

 

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