Beaver Meadow supporters praise golf course as a ‘gem’ at public hearing

  • Most, though not all, speakers at the finance hearing thought Beaver Meadow Golf Course worthy of public investment. Monitor staff

  • The view from the tee box of the 14th hole at Beaver Meadow Golf Course, the Hole of the Week. July 20, 2016 (JENNIFER MELI / Monitor Staff)

  • While many spoke in support of the golf course, there was concern there was not as much going to other public facilities, like the Penacook branch library, which is only open five hours a week. Monitor file

Monitor staff
Published: 6/3/2022 4:30:17 PM

Chris Mulleavey was the first of many residents to call the Concord’s public golf course a “gem.” 

Bow resident Jared Bland, speaking next to his young golfer son Jack, talked about the popularity of the youth golf program he started at Beaver Meadow for 36 kids, which currently has a waiting list. 

Another Bow resident, Gil Rogers, said that as someone who has played 70 golf courses in New Hampshire, Beaver Meadow is “above the middle.” 

“As a gem and a jewel it indeed deserves to be polished once in a while,” Rogers said. 

Many of the residents who came out Thursday night to share their views on Concord’s capital spending plans for the next year shared one perspective: the city’s municipal golf course Beaver Meadow is an asset that deserves further public investment. 

The proposed budget calls for nearly one million dollars in capital improvements at the city’s golf course in the next year.

The bulk of that spending – $855,000 – comes from general obligation bonds paid back by city taxpayers. An additional $135,000 in capital spending will come from bonds paid back with revenue from the golf course. 

The capital improvement plan also lays out future general fund spending on a clubhouse and parking lot of about $4.5 million in fiscal year 2024.

The golf course received praise from more than its summer fans.

Sam Evans-Brown, assistant coach for the Concord Nordic ski team, said that skiing at Beaver Meadow is essential for his athletes, who can’t learn to ski up and down hills on pancake-flat Memorial Field. Evans-Brown recently started a nonprofit, Ski the Beav, which raised funds to buy a ski groomer for the course. 

“I’m simply here to speak for how important the skiing is,” he said. “It’s not just a golf facility and it doesn’t have to be a golf facility.”

Two former city councilors were among the course’s supporters on Thursday.

Former At-Large Councilor Mark Coen said the 1960s clubhouse was long overdue for a makeover, and said the golf course gives back to the city by providing a venue for nonprofit organizations. Coen, who sat on a committee that recommended building a new clubhouse, said that poor conditions at the course 15 years ago diminished Beaver  Meadow’s revenue, but that a recent uptick in interest would mean more golf course money flowing into the general fund in future years. 

“It's folly not to protect your important assets,” former Ward 6 Councilor Linda Kenison added.  

Pencook resident and golfer Tracy Bricchi was a rare exception to the golf hype. 

“I’m not here to diss Beaver Meadow, I believe it is a gem but I believe that we need to reexamine where our priorities are when we are spending $1 million dollars for golf versus five hours of library time in Penacook,” she said. The Penacook branch library is currently open five hours a week on Thursday afternoons. 

Recent discussions about Beaver Meadow on the council have pitted spending on the city’s pools against the golf course. This year, pool lifeguards got a pay bump, raising their pay range from $12 to $16. Last year, Concord was only able to open five out of its seven pools because of problems hiring enough lifeguards.  

Parks and Recreation Director David Gill told the council Thursday that pools would open June 19 and close in mid-August.

“How much would it cost to keep pools open until Labor Day?” asked Ward 5 Councilor Stacey Brown. “It’s more of a staffing issue,” Gill replied. “The vast majority of staff either go back to college or high school sports start.” 

When Brown asked about increasing lifeguard pay in order to keep the pools open longer, City Manager Tom Aspell replied, “There’s not a connection there.” Ward 3 Councilor Jennifer Kretovic, whose career is in Human Resources, raised concerns about ageism when Brown asked why the city couldn’t hire adult lifeguards. 

Gill also said that the main issue the city has encountered in trying to hire more lifeguards is providing flexibility competitive with other pools: lifeguards want to work fewer hours and be able to take vacations in the summer, requiring a larger staff than in the past. Gill said he had hired 37 lifeguards so far. He said he has been facing similar struggles in hiring other Parks and Recreation seasonal workers, like snowplow operators. 


Cassidy Jensen bio photo

Cassidy Jensen has been a reporter at the Monitor, covering the city of Concord and criminal justice, since July 2021. Previously, she was a fellow at the Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University, where she earned a master's degree. Her work has been published in Documented, THE CITY, Washington City Paper and Street Sense Media. When she's not at City Council meetings, you can find her hiking in the White Mountains.



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