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Work tees off on Union Vale course

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Harry Keaney

Work has begun on the construction of $2.45 million Irish American-owned golf course near the town of Union Vale, in Dutchess County, N.Y.

The group behind the project, the Irish Golf Association Membership Corporation, hopes to have nine of the 18 holes completed by Sept. 1. Four tees and four greens have also been shaped, and the group hopes to have nine holes ready next year.

The project, details of which were first reported last June in the Echo, includes a two-story, 9,000-square-foot clubhouse. The 200-acre property, which the IGA Membership Corp. bought last June for $600,000, includes provision for future construction of tennis courts and a swimming pool.

Membership in the club, which is limited to 500 people, costs $10,000, but may soon be increased by perhaps 10 percent. Although some people in the Irish community have felt this is a high price to pay, IGA Membership Corp. President Phil O’Meara and finance committee member Tom O’Farrell, in a recent interview with the Echo, pointed out that this is a one-time payment for life, and members own part of the club. Membership can also be sold or transferred, they pointed out.

“Personally, I think it’s a good amount of money, but when you compare it to other private clubs, it’s not expensive,” O’Meara said. “Most private clubs cost $20,000 or more to join initially and $10,000 to $15,000 a year after that. Also, you have no equity in those clubs, but in this you do hold equity.”

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With about 220 members having already paid, the IGA Corp. has collected about $2.2 million.

“We have bought property and we own it,” O’Meara said. He added that financial reports are given at monthly meetings and “to this date, no one has left the room with unanswered questions.”

O’Meara and O’Farrell said it cost $170,000 to obtain the necessary permits from the town of Union Vale. And although the group has yet to obtain a final permit, they explained that the project was being monitored during construction by the Department of Environmental Conservation.

“We are incorporating their recommendations and we have to come up with a set of drawings showing those recommendations are implemented,” he said.

Of the $170,000 spent to obtain permits, such as a special-use permit and an earth-moving permit, $65,000 went to the LA Group, a land analysis, planning and design firm, and the balance went for various studies to satisfy the town of Unionvale, such as traffic, arch’ological and wildlife reports, and surveys.

IGA Membership Corporation meetings are held on the third Tuesday of every month at 8:30 p.m. in the Punch Bowl, 238th Street and Broadway. For information, call (212) 561-0326.

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