Fernandina Beach Commissioners back extension of city golf course deal

fernandina beach golf course
The city took temporary management of the course in May 2021.

It’s not “four more years,” but three, as the Fernandina Beach City Commission committed the city to three more years managing the municipal golf course.

The plan received vocal support before it was presented to the Commission.

“I was able to meet with the new Director and Assistant Director of (the city) Parks and (Recreation Department), and I was quite impressed by their program that they have for overseeing the golf course,” city Golf Course Advisory Board member John Pelican said. “I think both golfers and taxpayers will be happy with their oversight. I believe they can succeed in that mission, but I believe it will take your support.”

With the Commission’s backing, golf course management can keep and attract talent. The contract picks up where the present one runs out in 2023 and goes through Oct. 1, 2026.

“That would allow myself and staff to be able to hire leadership in that division, department, if you will, so that we can get someone that would want to come here and not just be here for less than a year,” new city Parks and Recreation Director Catherine Vorrasi said. 

“I’m very excited about having the opportunity to manage the golf course. Looking at it operationally, the pro shop, out at the course, and food and beverage, I’m very excited about the opportunities out there.”  

The city took temporary management of the course in May 2021 with city officials later deciding to extend that to Oct. 1 of this year, and in April moving that termination date out another year to 2023 on the recommendation of the Advisory Board.

“This is going to be the right call,” Commissioner Bradley Bean said shortly before the Commission’s unanimous vote in favor of the plan. “We’ve got to give the golf course some stability.”

Commissioner David Sturges can’t wait to see what’s next at the course, and has some ideas he’s shared with City Manager Dale Martin and intends to share with Vorrasi. 

“The golf course has been improving steadily since we’ve taken back management of it,” Sturges said. “It has been profitable this year, versus other years it hasn’t been. As well as, the staff has worked very hard they’ve been very productive.”

Wes Wolfe

Wes Wolfe is a reporter who's worked for newspapers across the South, winning press association awards for his work in Georgia and the Carolinas. He lives in Jacksonville and previously covered state politics, environmental issues and courts for the News-Leader in Fernandina Beach. You can reach Wes at [email protected] and @WesWolfeFP. Facebook: facebook.com/wes.wolfe


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