At a meeting on May 13, Sands Point residents were informed of an ambitious proposal to redevelop the Village Club.
The irony of the timing of the meeting was not wasted on the many people who attended. It was almost 21 years ago to the day that the village first proposed purchasing the IBM Country Club, which had long been maintained by the company as a nine-hole country club for their employees. Most of those who attended the May 13 meeting had also been present at the meeting 21 years ago.
Sands Point village trustees believe that the village can no longer depend on golf membership to financially sustain the operation of the club. They are exploring options to expand membership in order to appeal to the entire community, particularly young families. The plan includes a proposal to defray operating costs by installing a larger banquet facility than is currently available. Also on the drawing boards is a new pool.
David Shamis, representing the Village Club Planning Committee, told residents that golf membership is down, reflecting a national trend. Shamis stated that they believe non-golfing recreational membership is growing and has great potential and that the master plan presented at the meeting would result in increased general membership at the club.
Bill McMahon Senior, Chairman of the McMahon Group, which plans club projects, told the audience that the community needs to “promote club centric social interactions and shift the focus away from golf.” He noted that the lack of a health and fitness facility at the club is a problem. In the plan he presented, a unifying facility would be created around the building known as “The Mansion”. The plan would include a clubhouse for golfers, a state of the art fitness center, a catering facility as well as outdoor dining facing the sound, while preserving the architectural beauty of the Mansion, which is a throwback to the glamorous history of the Gold Coast.
Noticeably absent from the meeting were younger Sands Point homeowners. Sands Point Mayor Ed Adler noted that the meeting was a first step in a long process. “We are trying to get this information and the presentation to all residents via e-mail. We videotaped the entire meeting because we know that younger families have many demands on their time and we want their feedback. We have already received comments and we are in the process of collating the responses,” he said.
Since the Village Club currently offers membership to non Sands Point residents, a second meeting was held to present the plan to club members who do not reside in the village.