Beaver Meadow clubhouse failed to meet criteria for community center grant 

The outside of the Beaver Meadow Golf clubhouse on Thursday, June 22, 2023.

The outside of the Beaver Meadow Golf clubhouse on Thursday, June 22, 2023. GEOFF FORESTER


Monitor staff

Published: 12-07-2023 4:02 PM

Modified: 12-07-2023 6:20 PM

Proponents of rebuilding the Beaver Meadow Golf Course clubhouse have argued that the new structure would serve as a community center for wider city use, but the $10.8 million project was deemed ineligible for a grant because it didn’t meet the criteria for what a community center should provide.

The New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority could award up to $1 million in grants to eligible projects through its Community Center Investment Program.

“The project must be of a public purpose and for a public benefit,” the finance authority explained in its program guide. “Such benefits must be quantifiable.”

Eligibility for funding also depended on accessibility and the population it would serve.

“The community center must be consistently open to the public,” the program guide states. “Membership-based models or program fee structures that prevent the center from being publicly accessible are not eligible.”

The finance authority prioritizes projects that serve target populations, which were specifically listed as Black, Indigenous and People of Color; immigrants; LGBTQ; disabled; women and gender non-conforming; rural; youth; and unhoused residents.

Given those requirements, Concord’s new clubhouse was ruled out for funding.

“As we talked about what was going on at the golf course, they needed information from us about the community center, recreational types of programs, all the things that the recreation department puts together now with all their pamphlets,” Deputy City Manager Brian LeBrun said at a golf course committee meeting on Thursday morning. “They needed to have all of those things in front of them as they were to consider this for that, and that wasn’t something that was really part of the program here at the golf course.”

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LeBrun’s discussion was part of the Ad-Hoc Beaver Meadow Golf Course Building Committee’s last meeting in advance of a public hearing and expected vote on the project to rebuild the course’s clubhouse. The City Council meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 11 at City Hall.

During most of Thursday’s meeting, LeBrun previewed his presentation to the council that will be part of Monday’s hearing. He included detailed breakdowns of the costs of the project, the city’s goals for the rebuild, the anticipated timeline and projected changes to course revenue and expenses.

Ward 3 Councilor Jennifer Kretovic, also a member of the golf committee, noted the city council would vote on approving the $10.3 million bond proposal following Monday’s public hearing. Approximately $490,000 has already been spent on the project for design purposes.

Last month, at-large councilor and golf committee chair Nathan Fennessy had said a vote wouldn’t necessarily happen right after the hearing.

“There’s no guarantee that there’s going to be a vote up or down,” he said at the time. “The council has a number of options at the December meeting. The input I was getting from people was that we needed more public input which is exactly why I voted to have a public hearing because that’s the best manner in which we can obtain public input as a community as to how they feel about the project.”

Nothing prevents the council from holding a vote after the public hearing. In fact, if the council doesn’t vote, the funding may be in jeopardy as six new council members take office next month. At least five members of the next council have expressed reservations about the project.

The council needs 10 votes to pass the bond. On the current council, only three out of 15 members have said they oppose the spending, saying it’s not the right time for the city.

Thursday’s meeting, sparsely attended, was not open for public input, though committee members and Beaver Meadow employees remained afterward to address questions.