Grand Island supporters speak out - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Grand Island supporters speak out

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March 11, 2008

Lee County--  Lee County commissioners won't say much about the future of Grand Island but supporters of the golf course were very vocal Tuesday night.

Commissioners recently authorized a study to look at how valuable the land would be with commercial development. Dozens of people turned out to show their opposition to the plan.

At Tuesday's meeting, it was applause in the midst of a tough debate. Should Grand Island stay open or close?

"I hope that nothing happens to it that would change the way it is except for the better," said one supporter to Lee County commissioners.

The Lee County Assembly Room was standing room only as one-by-one, supporters of Grand Island came forward to plead their point. "I speak to you tonight as a citizen with first-hand knowledge," said Pat Manning.

Manning prides herself as member #216 of the club and can't see anything else in its place. "While the need for commercial and industrial development is vital to our financial future, what good does it do if you forget the people who call Lee County home?" asked Manning.

And people who call the area around the course home are against any changes.

"The homeowners in the Grand Island Community are prepared to take whatever steps necessary to protect our homes, our families, and our community," said Homeowners Association representative Helene Barrentine.

So commissioners have a big issue on their hands. On one hand, they say the course has been a financial burden in the past. "The perception is that Grand Island Golf Course is a money pit," said Barrentine.

On the other hand, commissioners gave Grand Island one fiscal year to increase profits and decrease the future burden on the county. Grand Island leaders say they're doing that.

"I think they've got to find out that it doesn't make dollars and cents in terms of making it commercial with other development," said Parks and Recreation Authority Secretary and Treasurer Nancy Harper.

It's still up in the air which road commissioners will take but Grand Island supporters hope their stance will make a difference.  

It could be months before commissioners get the results of the study.

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