Commentary A photo of the Bobby Jones Golf Course today with the clubhouse in the background.

Published on June 16th, 2016 |

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Guest Commentary: Bobby Jones GC swap cloaked in mystery, secrecy

Editor’s Note: BuckheadView this past week received a commentary piece from Lake Brown, an Atlanta resident for about 30 years and a golfer. Historic Bobby Jones Golf Course, which has been his home golf course for 21 years, is only 3.6 miles from his house.

“It is where I got a hole-in-one and shot my personal best, a 76. It is easy on my wallet as it costs $8.70 to walk 18 holes Monday-Thursday,” Brown told BuckheadView.

The area to the right (light green) is the part of Atlanta Memorial Park that will be transferred to the state.

The area to the right (light green) is the part of Atlanta Memorial Park that will be transferred to the state.

“I am in favor of updating BJGC and keeping it 18 holes. I want to add that I am not a member of Friends of Bobby Jones Golf Course, but support many of their goals,” he said.

In March 2015, Brown went before the board of Friends of Bobby Jones GC to suggest they consider opening a permanent exhibit honoring the life and legacy of Alfred ‘Tup’ Holmes in the historic clubhouse of BJGC.

When a rumor began circulating in July 2015 that a land swap was going to take place between the city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia whereby BJGC would go to the state, Brown became concerned that Atlanta’s taxpayers and residents had virtually no say and “were being excluded by Mayor Kasim Reed from the legislative process concerning the land swap.”

Brown made repeated and failed requests to have the land swap heard before the NPU (Neighborhood Planning Unit) system. “No public forums were held to discuss the land swap. I asked three city council members to seek legal advice from the city’s Law Department concerning the exclusion of the NPU’s.” He says he never got a response from the three City Council members.

Brown told BuckheadView, “My hope now is that the media will assist by bringing attention to help stop the land swap before it is signed by Governor Deal and‎ Mayor Kasim Reed.”

The following is the commentary Brown submitted to BuckheadView:

“We should all be outraged that no one cares that our mayor, Kasim (His Excellency) Reed just gave COA (City of Atlanta) parkland, which includes Historic Bobby Jones Golf Course, to the

Mayor LKasim Reed

Mayor Kasim Reed

state with minimal outcry from COA elected officials and the media.

“In partial defense of COA city council and the media, it is tough to speak or write about something that has been cloaked in mystery and secrecy by the office of His Excellency, Mayor Kasim Reed.

“Nary a mention in the press. The Atlanta Business Chronicle ranked the giveaway as the 12th top business story of the week (June 4-10).   Anthony Bourdain’s comment about Chick-fil-A was #7. I guess that means COA taxpayers and residents are ‘Just Chopped Chicken Liver.’

“City Council sat back and let this happen with little outcry. Atlanta’s taxpayers and residents are about to lose 144 acres of very valuable parkland (worth today between $40 and $60 million) without any representation.  No public forums and no discussions before the NPU’s.

“Perhaps His Excellency Kasim Reed regards having an engaged public inconvenient.

“The NPU system was established in 1974 by Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson. His aim was ‘to ensure that citizens would be in a position to comment on the structure of their communities, and to ensure that the citizens would not have this ability stripped of them by politicians who found an involved and engaged pubic inconvenient.’

The present clubhouse at the Bobby Jones Golf Course, which the Georgia Golf Association might turn into a Georgia Golf Hall of Fame

The present clubhouse at the Bobby Jones Golf Course, which the Georgia Golf Association might turn into a Georgia Golf Hall of Fame

“Mayor Jackson had the NPU System placed within the City Charter, which can only be changed by the Georgia Legislature. That same section of the Charter also contains the Office of the Mayor as well as the Atlanta City Council.

“HISTORIC Bobby Jones Golf Course realized $3,430,000 in profits for the city of Atlanta’s General Fund over the last 10 years. HISTORIC Bobby Jones Golf Course averaged gross revenues of $1,371,000 and 41,000 rounds per year for the last 10 years.

“If you don’t believe those figures, call (Atlanta Parks & Recreation Department) Commissioner Amy Phuong for verification. Quite impressive for a golf course in a stagnant sport recovering from the 2008 recession and the sudden exit of Tiger Woods.

“Very impressive when one considers His Excellency Mayor Kasim Reed’s admission he (city of Atlanta) has neglected‎ the upkeep of the city-owned golf courses.

“ATLANTA, A City Too Busy to Care.”

Lake Brown

lakebr@yahoo.com

P.S.: If you have not read Bill Torpy’s recent column you need to at:

http://www.myajc.com/news/news/local/mr-mayor-should-learn-how-to-take-it/nrfKT/?ecmp=newspaper_email/##)

 

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