DEP SEEKS PRIVATE OPERATOR FOR SPRING MEADOW GOLF COURSE
(11/P9) TRENTON - The Department of Environmental Protection today released a Request for Proposal for the private management and operation of Spring Meadow Golf Course, an 18-hole DEP-owned public course located in Wall Township in Monmouth County, Commissioner Bob Martin announced.
This is the only one of four golf courses on DEP land that is run by the Department, which is seeking to divest itself of direct management of Spring Meadow as part of a comprehensive effort to reconsider how it manages and finances its entire State Park system.
Bringing in a professional golf management company should enhance revenues at Spring Meadow while allowing DEP personnel employed at the golf course to be reassigned to other necessary tasks in our State parks, said Commissioner Martin.
"Gov. Christie has made a commitment to keep all of our State's parks open during these tough economic times to ensure a continuation of affordable recreation for all State residents,'' said Commissioner Martin. "But it will require some creative re-thinking of how we operate this system, and how we can cut costs, increase revenues and better utilize our DEP personnel and resources.
"The DEP should not be in the business of running golf courses, but should be dealing with forestry and fish and wildlife issues in our parks and natural areas,'' added Commissioner Martin. "Putting Spring Meadow in the hands of golf professionals makes sense.''
The Governor's Privatization Task Force in May specifically targeted the Spring Meadow operation as a prime example of the benefits of turning over some government operations to private enterprise. It suggested that outsourcing government golf management in New Jersey, through long-term leases of these taxpayer owned properties, could generate needed revenues to help finance the State's park system.
Spring Meadow Golf Course and driving range was acquired by the DEP in the 1970s through the Green Acres Program and has been operated by the Department since then. Private companies manage the three other golf courses owned by the Department. They are the Centerton Golf Course at Parvin State Park in Pittsgrove, Cream Ridge Golf Course in Upper Freehold Township, and the White Oaks Country Club in Newfield.
The DEP never operated the other three courses. When it purchased the Centerton, Cream Ridge and White Oaks courses, the Green Acres Program negotiated management contracts into the terms of those acquisitions. The sellers were allowed to continue operating those golf courses after DEP took ownership, but for a limited period of time. In the case of Centerton Golf Course, for example, the DEP in 2008 publicly bid the management contract.
The DEP is seeking an operator for Spring Meadow that has experience and knowledge in operating golf courses, is financially stable, and shows strength in customer service commitment and employee performance.
The winning bidder will enter into a five-year operating agreement with the DEP and will have the potential to renew the operating agreement for an additional five-year term. The successful bidder will pay the State a fixed annual fee, adjusted annually by the Consumer Price Index, plus a percentage of its annual gross revenue earned from course operations.
The winning bidder will be responsible for the day-to-day operation of the golf course and will be responsible for its full-time operation, as well as its commercial development.
A mandatory bidders meeting will be held at Spring Meadow Golf Course at the clubhouse/pro shop on Jan. 31, 2011 at 10 a.m. The deadline for submitting proposals is Feb. 22, 2011.
For a copy of the RFP, visit: www.njparksandforests.org/parks/business_ops/current_leases.htm