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Chaffee Board approves golf course lease

Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority board members approved a lease agreement that puts operations and maintenance of the Deer Trails Golf Course in the hands of a non-profit for $1 per year at its Thursday (March 6) meeting.

According to FCRA Executive Director Ivy Owen, the five year lease agreement was part of a three-pronged agreement with what will be known as the Deer Trails Country Club that will lease the facility to the group as well as sell maintenance equipment to the group for $75,000. The final part of the agreement will have the non-profit purchase any inventory in possession of Deer Trails as of March 31. Items could include unsold equipment in the pro shop, as well as food and alcohol at the facility's dining hall.

Owen said it was a necessity to lease the facility and get it off FCRA's books.

"Since we've operated it for (the last) two years, it's operated at a loss," he said. "We've not been able to come up with a formula to keep that from happening. The biggest reason is the labor costs and the benefit package we have to pay on employees. That has prevented us from making a profit or even breaking even."

According to Owen, the lease agreement will remove the monetary liability from FCRA while keeping the amenity on-site and available to residents and others who may frequent the re-developed former U.S. Army base.

The only ongoing costs FCRA will be responsible for in the future will be property insurance, which Owen said was no different than "any landlord, tenant lease."

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The agreement takes effect April 1.

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