Starting Sept. 1, the nonprofit Golf Brevard will begin operating Brevard County-owned Spessard Holland Golf Course in the South Beaches and The Habitat in Grant-Valkaria on four-year leases with the county.
County commissioners in a 4-1 vote approved a final agreement with Golf Brevard, following negotiations for the last month or so.
Commissioner John Tobia, whose district includes the two courses, dissented, yet said he hopes Golf Brevard succeeds in making the two courses succeed.
Commissioners in 2015 realized the county was losing money, not only at Spessard Holland and The Habitat, but also at the county’s third course, The Savannahs on Merritt Island, when former Parks Director Jack Masson pointed to an operating loss of $129,500 for the year.
Commissioners recently agreed to revert The Savannahs ownership back to the Savannahs at Sykes Creek Homeowners Association Inc. The Golf Brevard agreement took more work.
“You have taken care of all of my concerns,” commission Chairwoman Rita Pritchett told Indialantic resident Tom Beckett, head of Golf Brevard’s steering committee.
Pritchett has complained of the county being involved in the golf business and competing against private-run courses while losing money.
The agreement calls for the county to loan $490,000 to Golf Brevard as “transition funding,” with the first $100,000 by July 1.
The money would be used for hiring a golf course general manager and bookkeeping staff and pay insurance premiums.
The agreement then requires Golf Brevard to repay the county, starting Sept. 1, 2021, with the first $100,000, and then $130,000 on each of the next two anniversaries, up to $390,000.
Golf Brevard agreed to reach out to the surrounding community, such as school groups, and to keep the courses open all year at first-class standards.
If both sides agree, Golf Brevard can renew its four-year leases by 20 years.