By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(June 21, 2018) After a lengthy discussion with golf members, Ocean Pines Directors last Thursday weighed in on planned renovations for the second floor of the golf and country club that are, at this point, about two years in the making.
Director Slobodan Trendic said more than $500,000 had already been spent on renovations of the first floor and an April board motion called for a formal review before a request for proposals was released.
Previously approved plans included several meeting spaces and a large open area for banquets.
Trendic said public comments on Thursday proved, “Holding this meeting was the right thing to do.”
“What I have gotten out of these comments is really a serious message: We as the board … have really not given the golfing community and the rest of the community an opportunity to provide us with input,” he said.
“That kind of really changes the dynamics of this meeting. From my perspective … this is really not about voting to approve the existing plan — this is really about how do we, as a board, handle the current situation and how do we provide the golfing community and the rest of the community an opportunity to provide input,” Trendic added.
He said the latest floor plan, drafted by Salisbury firm Davis, Bowen and Friedel, should ensure renovations “will satisfy not only the golfing community, but also the rest of the membership because … this is a multipurpose facility that will be used for different venues.”
Association President Doug Parks was one of several directors to stress a sense of urgency.
“If we make this sort of an elongated process with multiple discussions … we probably are going to miss an opportunity to do something sooner rather than later,” he said. “Nor am I saying we need to rush through this, but I think we need a very … concise list of recommendations from the golfing community now that they’ve had an opportunity to look at this.”
Trendic countered, “I don’t think this is a situation to rush things” because financial implications were long lasting. He suggested a review of the plans by a small group of golfers and management.
General Manager John Bailey said that discussion could also include himself, Facilities Manager Kevin Layfield and the design firm, while Trendic suggested adding Matt Ortt to the mix.
The Matt Ortt Companies have been well received since last month taking over management of Ocean Pines food and beverage operations at the yacht and beach clubs.
Association Vice President Cheryl Jacobs said one of the most important things coming out of public comments last Thursday was the notion of renovating the building “for the golf community.”
“Yes, it will have other purposes, but it’s the right decision and we should spend the appropriate amount of money to make it what it should be for the golfing community as the first objective,” she said, also stating a sense of urgency.
“I am very anxious to get this going. I have been pushing and pushing for this and so, while I want you all to provide your input, I don’t want this to be delayed while we have meeting after meeting after meeting,” Jacobs said. “Let’s come together quick … but let’s move on this.”
Jacobs acknowledged certain additional touches should remain in the discussion, but “they come with a price tag.”
“We’re going to design to have an elevator, but maybe we’re not going to do the elevator right away,” unless there was ample public demand, Jacobs said.
Director Pat Supik also said timing was an issue.
“Let’s keep this moving … along. I just want to say, as a non-golfer, I have a huge interest in the country club and its renovations and what it’s going to mean for the community,” she said.
“You can’t have the desires of 8,400 households, but I just want to think a little globally as we go forward, because I think it’s going to be a multiuse building. I’m so excited about it — I can’t wait to go sit on that porch and have a cocktail,” Supik continued.
Director Colette Horn also said there is a need to get input from the larger community.
“Not that they’re going to drive the major design, but that their needs and priorities also be considered, so we want to let them have a voice in this,” she said.
Horn suggested a town hall meeting, while Jacobs could be heard audibly saying, “Oh dear god, no!”
Jacobs said it was appropriate to refresh people’s memories on what had already been done.
“We’ve already had this discussion and, yes, perhaps it has not been properly communicated to people,” she said.
She said the bar and banquet space would be large enough to accommodate golf tournaments, but “was not ever … intended to be another food and beverage operation.”
“It is simply to have a facility that would allow us to bring in food from the yacht club, if we needed something of that size,” she said.
“We already talked about all of this. And maybe all we needed was to refresh people’s memories about it, but that was always the plan of how this facility was going to be used. Tern Grill stays Tern Grill. Upstairs has got some offices, but it’s basically empty unless we have a banquet or a tournament … or some other community function,” Jacobs added.
As an alternative to a town hall meeting, Horn suggested instead using email blasts or Ocean Pines’ website to better the flow of information.
“I think the public has let us know that they want transparency [and] they want two-way communication. And, without unduly slowing this process down, I’d like to see that happen,” she said.
Director Ted Moroney said the renovations, from a design standpoint, were “a whole lot simpler” than what people were making it out to be.
“I think we’ve got to get everybody to look at the drawings,” Moroney said. “I think that part is easy. If we get Matt Ortt to come over, get this [golf] group, we can get the inside and address any major structural areas on the outside, and also show you some of the structural stuff we’re doing inside.”
Once that is done, he said it would take Davis, Bowen and Friedel two-to-three weeks to update the plans.
No decisions were finalized, but management, representatives from the golfing community, and several board members met at the country club on the following day last Friday.