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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor

JULIE LANE PHOTO The Shelter Island Country Club's clubhouse at Goat Hill. Several writers this week — including the Board of Directors —commented on changes at the club.
JULIE LANE PHOTO The Shelter Island Country Club’s clubhouse at Goat Hill. Several writers this week — including the Board of Directors —commented on changes at the club.

Prudent fiscal management of Goat Hill
To the Editor:
Every president and board of the Shelter Island Country Club has struggled with the same issue: How do we keep membership fees, golf fees and bar prices as low as possible so the club can be affordable to Islanders?

The downside to keeping the club affordable puts tough limits on the amount of money available to maintain the course. In prior years, the club spent roughly $10,000 a year, excluding staff salaries, on course maintenance. The current board has tripled our investment in the course and still more money is needed.

Golf courses are very expensive to maintain and our limited yearly expenditure, plus Shelter Island’s watering restrictions, have resulted in a gradual deterioration of the course. What we have now is the result of over 10 years of serious underfunding of course maintenance. This long-term policy, done in order to keep the course affordable, is now raising questions of the club’s future.

The deteriorated condition of some greens could cause a loss of members and their revenue that would accentuate our problems. In 2015, we had 80 adult golf memberships and 25 social memberships which consists of singles, couples and family members. Golf memberships run $468 to $710. Our “Learn to Play” program has been extremely successful, generating new golf members and our scrambles encourage new golfers to practice their skills in an encouraging environment. But, this is only a start. We need more golf members.

The board has fiduciary responsibility to manage the club for the long-term benefit of the membership. For the last two years, the club has lost revenue by opening full time in April. Recognizing we could not afford to continue to lose more money, we delayed opening until the weather is more predictable and more people are on the Island. The bar will be open this weekend from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and we encourage everyone to stop by and say hello to our new manager, Bix Winters.

We are always open to reviewing policy and encourage our members to let us know their feeling on maintaining our current price structure versus rebuilding the course. The reality is we have to make hard choices until our revenues increase and cutting club loses is paramount to continuing operations.
Shelter Island Country Club officers

To the Editor:
I have to say that the article entitled “Management questioned at Goat Hill” (April 14) appeared biased in favor of the complainers.

Let me preface by saying that I am not a member of the country club nor do I have even the foggiest idea of how the game of golf goes. But the article seemed to be mostly a collection of unsubstantiated accusations with little or no data to back them up.

For example, how many members are there compared to the past X number of years? Has the number declined? Was the weather to blame for parched greens (and water conservation?) or the management? Has $70,000 gone “missing” or hasn’t it?

I would have expected that the Reporter would gather hard information before running an article that clearly accused present management of abuse.

One quick example: Upon a visit to the restaurant last summer I was told that the town forbids liquor to be served after 9 p.m.

Well, if that is true, then that is a restaurant killer; no wonder it’s hard to keep one. The critical letter in the previous edition was from someone in China. China?? And while I respect that author’s past involvement, frankly I am glad if they are not pouring pesticides and chemicals all over the course and into our water supply,

I enjoy your paper but please exercise responsible journalism.
Shelter Island

Build, not knock down
To the Editor:
This letter is about a golf course that has been part of my life since my dad put a golf club in my hands when I was 5. I have climbed the hills carrying a bag, pulled a hand cart and ridden in a riding cart, and also did some caddying. I know that was years ago, but the contour of the course hasn’t changed.

Over the years there has been a lot of hard work put into the course so that everyone could have the opportunity to play a round of golf. We all know there is much hard work and many difficulties that lie ahead. I also know that pointing fingers and name calling have never solved problems. Why not work together to solve the problems and become a club where everyone can come to relax, enjoy a game of golf, have a cocktail or perhaps dinner and enjoy a lovely view?

Shelter Island Country Club may not be perfect but it is a beautiful part of Shelter Island. Let’s build it up, not knock it down, and be proud of the accomplishment.

A bit of history: After 57 years as greenskeeper maintaining the grounds and giving many lessons, my dad, Bill Congdon, and my mother, Olive, who was in the clubhouse for 42 years (an amazing twosome!) decided to leave SICC in 1976. The reason being it was time to retire and do some traveling. The following spring they took a long-awaited trip to California with much sightseeing along the way. Upon their return, Bill continued to play golf at the club until he was 92.
Shelter Island

Hoping for a solution
To the Editor:
We — the Shelter Island Preschool Board of Directors — want to share the latest challenge of our youngest Islanders and ask for help as we try to brainstorm a solution.

First, we applaud the Shelter Island School on the decision to offer a full-day program for 4-year-olds. This is a wonderful option for children and their families and on par with the surrounding communities.

With that said, without the revenue from our own 4-year-old program, keeping our doors open beyond the 2016-2017 school year will be nearly impossible. While we are extremely sad at the prospect of having to shut our doors, we still hold out hope there may be a solution to continue to offer a high quality program for the 2- and 3-year-olds.

This Island it at a crossroads. Our young working families struggle to afford housing here and we are now at risk of losing a critical program. It is my hope that we can find the resources to maintain a program for our youngest Islanders and not burden our young working families with having to take children off the Island for this type of educational program. Although our program is not a free service, we have worked hard to keep the it affordable and have never refused a family because of an inability to pay.

We would like to thank all of the Island organizations that have shown their support to us and have helped maintain this preschool thus far, including the Shelter Island 10K Community Fund, The Lions Club, The Shelter Island Educational Foundation and so many more.

Our Town Board has done a wonderful job offering programs to our seniors; perhaps it is time we begin to explore similar programs for our youngest Islanders.

If anyone is interested in hearing more about our program, or would like to get involved, please feel free to reach out to us directly at [email protected]
Shelter Island Preschool

No wells on CPF properties
To the Editor:
We all know our aquifer is one of our most fragile resources.

Most things that would increase water quality are a good thing. However, we need to make sure the proposed Community Preservation Fund (CPF) legislation does not allow for wells to be placed on land purchased with CPF funds.

While on the Town Board, I often heard the idea that we should allow small community wells to be placed on vacant land to serve properties whose wells have salted and can’t get potable water. If that were to happen, it would allow development of fragile properties that previously would not have been developed.

That would certainly be contrary to the reason the CPF fund was established — to preserve open space!
Shelter Island

Tracking me
To the Editor:
Last Saturday I inadvertently (aka, rather stupidly) left my keys in the post box section of the post office.

I would like to express my gratitude to whoever turned my keys in to the authorities and to the police for their efforts in tracking me down and returning them to me.

Luckily I got them back before I realized that they had even gone astray. Thank you to all involved.
Shelter Island