Here’s a write up from today’s Daily News…
By Bill Egbert
The long drive to build a PGA-level golf course in the Bronx may be heading to the 18th hole.
With the Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course finally taking shape at Ferry Point, the city is now looking for a contractor to operate the facility, according to a contract published in the City Record.
The long-awaited links, where construction began in 1998, are expected to open in 2011 – a decade later than the original developer promised.
“The adage ‘Good things come to those who wait’ is certainly true in this case,” said City Councilman James Vacca (D-East Bronx), who has been pushing for a golf course at the former city dump since 1977.
“After years of unimaginable indecision and then intolerable delays, we are now in the final stretch,” Vacca said. “Those of us have been teed off many times may soon be teeing off!”
The original developer of the golf course, Pierre Gagne’s Ferry Point Partners, spent years dumping dirt and construction debris at the site, constantly changing the design in ways that always seemed to demand even more fill.
The group ultimately spent eight years dumping 2 million cubic yards of fill at the site just east of the Whitestone Bridge – creating not the promised links-style golf course, but a huge mound of dirt that locals dubbed “Mount Gagne.”
The city finally dumped Gagne from the project in 2006 – after paying him a $7 million termination fee – just months after a Daily News investigation exposed mob-connected firms that were profiting from dumping construction debris at the former landfill.
Rather than take chances trying to find a new developer, Mayor Bloomberg had the Parks Department take over the project, resolving to finish the long-promised golf course at city expense.
The city hired a Florida firm, Sanford Golf Design, to finish the course, which is expected to be completed in the fall of 2011 at a total cost of $70 million.
The Parks Department has issued a request for offers for the operation and maintenance of the 18-hole course, driving range and other facilities. Bids are due by March 30.
The Parks Department will have final approval on greens fees and will seek a fee structure affordable to local residents, but the details will be subject to negotiation with the winning bidder, according to the agency.