The golf clubhouse at the edge of Pinecone Central Park, along Pinecone Road, should be opened for more community uses.
At a Sartell City Council meeting last month, the council approved the use of the clubhouse for a winter farmers’ market, one Saturday per month from December into March. Council member David Peterson voted against the motion, saying he did not want to vote in favor of allowing just one use for the clubhouse this winter. All applicants should be welcome to use it – or none, was Peterson’s way of thinking about it.
Peterson was right, in our opinion.
Sartell Administrator Patti Gartland said the farmers’ market could be a kind of pilot project to see how a rental use works out at the clubhouse, then in the future the place could be opened for more uses. And that is how four of the five on the council voted – for the farmers’ market usage as a pilot project this winter.
There is no clamor from citizens to use that clubhouse in the winter, but why be so needlessly exclusionary? In fact, why not advertise the clubhouse’s availability for the community? Surely, there must be plenty of groups that need winter meeting space in the city.
The farmers’ market will pay a $40 rental fee per each day’s use of the building, plus the cost of any utilities. The clubhouse is kept at 50 degrees throughout the winter. The heat will obviously have to be turned up for meetings there. A damage deposit is also required.
The farmers’ market applicant, Amy Braig-Lindstrom, also agrees with Peterson. She is completely in favor of opening the clubhouse to any group that would need it in the winter months, not just for the farmers’ market.
The City of Sartell bought the golf-course property, including its clubhouse, several years ago. The city leases the clubhouse to a private concern that uses it as the clubhouse for a golf course there in the warm months of the year. Under the terms of the lease, the city may use the clubhouse, equipment and nearby property from Dec. 1 through March 15 for public purposes that include, but are not limited to, community-education courses, various forms of winter recreation and “a public or private meeting space, including rental of the clubhouse for such meetings.”
The terms of that lease are plain and simple. And what could be more all-inclusive?
Is there really any need to first have a “pilot project” at the clubhouse? Since it’s a public facility (an open-ended one during the winter months), it really ought to be opened and enjoyed by any group that wants to rent it.