The Town of Harrison now owns a country club, but no one will be teeing it up there until next year, according to Mayor Ron Belmont. After a contentious eminent domain proceeding, the town took over the site with court approval and the members of the club will divvy up $13.65 million after the club’s debts are paid.
The site, which includes a golf course, swimming pool, tennis courts, and clubhouse with dining facilities, will become a semi-private club for residents of the Town of Harrison (which includes West Harrison and Purchase) along the lines of Rye Golf Club and Lake Isle, which are owned by the City of Rye and Town of Eastchester, respectively. According to the financial model most likely to be adopted by Harrison, the club will have both annual memberships for residents and some daily fee golf for both residents and non-residents.
“We will probably roll out our pricing options in the fall for seasonal passes and daily fee charges for Harrison residents and their guests,” Belmont says. “Unfortunately, given the timing of all of this, we will not be able to open any portion of the club this season. The Town will be focusing on getting the facility into shape and properly equipped and staffed to open early next spring.” As of this date, the town is maintaining the site, but the Willow Ridge club occupies the clubhouse for the rest of this month so bidders on equipment and other property the club auctioned can have time to pick up their purchases.
The Town of Harrison issued $15.65 million in debt, two million over the purchase price, to pay for needed improvements to the irrigation system and other major capital expenditures. Troon Golf has advised the town on the acquisition and been awarded a five-year golf management agreement to run it. Troon personnel have been onsite for several weeks preparing for the takeover.
Originally organized as Green Meadow Country Club in 1917, Willow Ridge Country Club had been teetering on the edge of financial trouble for several years. The members finally put the property on the market last fall before the Town of Harrison stepped in to seize it through eminent domain.
One final decision remains for the Harrison town board: a name for the new club. Given that a new mayor and two new board members are to be elected in November this year, it’s expected that the incumbents will make that decision sooner rather than later.