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Farmington Woods Residents Consider Proposals To Improve Golf Course, ClubhouseBy BEAU BERMAN, FoxCT
The Hartford Courant
7:20 PM EDT, April 11, 2012
FARMINGTON — A battle is brewing at the Farmington Woods codominium complex as its residents are being asked to approve plans to make improvements to the community's golf course and clubhouse.
The complex's residents have long enjoyed a golf course and next-door clubhouse in their community, but the course's failing sprinkler system needs to be replaced and the clubhouse could use an update. So the condo association's board of directors is proposing borrowing a total of $4 million — $2 million for the course improvements and $2 million for the clubhouse renovation.
Over the 20-year life of the bonds, the complex would pay a projected $2.8 million in interest, bringing the total cost of the work to $6.8 million. The vote on the two proposals is scheduled for May 10.
Straddling the Farmington-Avon border, Farmington Woods is home to nearly 2,000 people, but fewer than 200 of them actually play golf. That's the argument some residents are making against the proposals that would fix the course and clubhouse and would increase the costs of living in the community. "I feel like they're asking us to bail out a losing business," said Amanda Barboza, a Farmington Woods resident.
Barboza is representative of the complex's changing demographic — young families who live here not for golf or the clubhouse — which have lost a combined $1.3 million over the past six years.
"The majority of us aren't golfers. I'm in Avon because my son is 2. I want him to go to Avon schools."
After the condo board announced the proposals at a December meeting, condo owner Lee Lagasse was upset. He started a blog to engage residents ahead of the May vote. "It's not making money and it's been losing money and they want the citizens to pick up the tab," he said. "It's just not right," Lagasse said.
But board President Irene Loretto, who has lived in Farmington Woods since 1975, sees it differently. "The golf course is very important to the community because it does enhance our property values," said Loretto, who fears that the course will fail and owners will sell their condos if the bonds are not approved.
Lagasse pointed to other failed or struggling courses in Woodbridge, New London and elsewhere. "What's going to ruin your property value is a golf course that's bleeding money and high condominium fees, which we have."