Tuesday, August 30, 2011

TOP STORY >> Future unclear after Greystone closes its doors

Leader staff writer

Plans to reopen one or two of the golf courses at Greystone Country Club remain uncertain, although undeveloped land near the club could be used for future home construction.

Greystone Country Club, which has been part of Cabot’s identity for more than 17 years, closed its doors last week.

The regular morning golfers weren’t among those who received an e-mail about the closing from owner Bill Minton. They arrived Friday morning and found the doors locked.

Sometime later that day, sources say, a representative of Metropolitan National Bank, which holds the mortgage on the two golf courses and clubhouse, hired the club maintenance crew to keep the place presentable. Members have been told that if they have personal belongings in the clubhouse, they should call before they attempt to pick it up to be sure someone is there to unlock the door.

Ed Passini, a Greystone resident and club member who was part of a group trying in January to put together a plan to keep the club open until a new buyer could be found, said he was sitting in the clubhouse at 9 p.m. when an employee came out of the office and announced, “We’re done.”

Club owner Bill Minton should have given members a little more notice, Passini said.

Greystone residents have known for eight months that the country club was in trouble. But Passini said the residents didn’t try to save it when they had an opportunity.

His group had appealed to Greystone residents to join the country club instead of just living in the subdivision. If they could double membership to about 500, the club could survive, the group said.

They appealed to residents saying to save the country club was to save their way of life and maintain the value of their homes. Now the fear that property values would plummet will become reality, Passini said.

By the time it closed, only one of the two courses was open. Cypress Creek, the back course, closed July 3. The manager said the grass was dying from a fungus due to the combination of rain and hot weather.

The club was set for auction at the end of the summer. Minton said in July that there were possible buyers but by the time it closed, insiders were saying that all the possible buyers had declined.

In January, the club was reportedly falling $40,000 a month short of the revenue needed to operate and pay the $1.2 million mortgage. And Mayor Bill Cypert said if it closed the negative economic impact to the city would be about $25 million over a 10-year period.

Contacted this week, a spokesman for Metropolitan National Bank said the bank could not comment about the future of Greystone.