Forging a new course
The Courses closure coming May 1
By Col. Edward C. Rothstein
My intent today is to share with you the most recent information I have about the status of the Courses.
As many of you know, the Fort Meade golf course has a long history of serving our community, dating back nearly 70 years. Challenges to keep the Courses began in 2008 when we lost nine of its 36 holes and its driving range due to the Base Realignment and Closure construction of the Defense Information Systems Agency and Defense Media Activity.
Many of you also know that the closure of the remaining 27 holes has been anticipated. It was my intent to maintain the Courses through this fiscal year and turn the property over to the National Security Agency on Oct. 1.
However, the golf course's closing date has been moved forward to May 1 to accommodate construction that needs to begin.
The golf course has been one of Fort Meade's most visible recreation sites. I played the full 36 holes during past assignments. I enjoy playing the Courses now with Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Charles E. Smith as often as possible.
I know the golf course will be missed. It has served me along with the entire Team Meade community, helping our service members, civilian workers, retirees and families balance work and life activities.
The loss of the golf course is an emotional issue. However, the decision to support national security, DoD priorities and our partners is not difficult.
Losing the golf course to support these priorities is the right thing to do.
That said, I want you to know that Fort Meade and I are aggressively continuing efforts to find an alternative resolution to meet our community golfing requirements. Garrison leaders, civic and business leaders as well as many of our friends outside Fort Meade's gates are engaged in discussions that will help us find positive alternatives for the post community.
These discussions include long-term solutions like constructing a new golf course on another location on post to possibly purchasing a local golf course. In the short term, we are working to establish reciprocal agreements with county golf courses.
A reciprocal agreement will provide the Fort Meade golfing community with opportunities to golf at local public courses for a price equal or similar to what they currently pay.
Due to the reality of today's budget constraints, building a new golf course or even purchasing a course will not happen overnight.
However, with spring around the corner, I want you to know that a reciprocal agreement allowing our golfers to play county courses such as Compass Pointe Golf Courses in Pasadena, Eisenhower Golf Course in Crownsville or the Timbers at Troy in Elkridge is being negotiated for this season's play.
And I am not going to stop there. We will continue to work with other local communities to explore ways to support our community.
Looking ahead, I also want to share some good news about a couple of other items we are addressing on post.
Built in 1982, Club Meade is one of several aging facilities on the installation. As a result, the dining and catering facility has struggled to meet its financial standards. In fact, during the past 10 years, Club Meade has lost approximately $329,000. The good news is that due to new management and BRAC growth, the club has significantly increased its ability to generate revenue over the past six months.
Through the use of successful business revitalization program tools, including strategies like implementing updates to daily and catering menus, the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation has identified more than $166,000 that can be directed toward renovation projects for the facility. The goal is to make Club Meade more visually appealing and increase its ability to better serve the post community.
The post bowling center, The Lanes, has also experienced improved financial performance over the past year. New management and a renovated lounge have been major factors in its success. The monthly Karaoke Night, weekly Texas Hold 'em contests and other special events have led to increased customer satisfaction and profits.
Other projects include the planned construction of a new Child, Youth and School Services Child Development Center, a new Veterans Affairs clinic and efforts to expand services at the installation's Family Pet Care Center and Camp Meade RV Park.
Combined, these efforts tell me we are on the right path that continues Fort Meade's great reputation to support our community. As always, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on how to carry on in our Team Meade approach.
user jerzeegolfer says...
Interesting article. I believe the majority of golfers find this an emotional issue because this has been brewing since the first BRAC announcement. All along the players have been encouraged to "be optimistic" when in reality it appears there has been a fatalistic approach to the entire process. Reciprocal agreements seem a misnomer if there is no Fort Meade facility to reciprocate with. Most everyone is already able to play a county course - what is missing is the military/civilian community that existed by having a place to call one's own. It seems unexcuseable to have waited until the last hour to notify everyone of what had seemed inevitable last year - based on the publicly available plans for the construction. Having a bigger bowling alley might be a boon for the bowlers - but hardly seems a consolation for the golfing community.
Posted 12:51 PM, 03.02.12 / Permalink
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May 18, 2013
Col. Edward C. Rothstein
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