City assumes control of Ravine

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 29, 2006

The city of Demopolis took over ownership of the Ravine Golf Course effective July 1, by a 4-1 vote Thursday night at the city council meeting.

Former owner Rex Bible had asked to be removed from his lease when he and John Hong joined in an attempt to resurrect Valley Grande Golf Course from the ashes of what was Ocmulgee in Valley Grande.

The lone ‘no’ vote for the purchase came from Melvin Yelverton.

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“This is not a way to spend the taxpayers money,” said Yelverton. “The city should not be in business.”

With the exception of Yelverton’s resounding no, the vote carried with no hitch, until it came time for the council to vote whether or not to allow the Ravine to continue the sale of beer as a city entity.

“I’ve got concerns,” said councilman Thomas Moore.

“The more I thought about it, the more I thought we shouldn’t be in the alcohol business.”

The mixed feeling about the city being responsible for the sale of beer out of the facility’s concession stand was enough to deadlock the vote at 3-3.

“We don’t have a lounge area to sit around and drink,” said Mark Pettus, director of the parks and recreation department. “People are not going to sit around for hours and drink.”

However, after careful wording and negotiations, the motion was re-worked to where the Parks and Recreation Department would be in control of the clubhouse and the concession stand, but would have the option to outsource for beer sales.

From there, the Parks and Recreation Department also was approved for their budget to be expanded to the tune of $240,000 to cover the acquisition of the Ravine facility.

Also, the city council approved the purchase of machinery for the course that is set to open on July 1.

In other city council decisions:

– the council voted unanimously to renew the retail beer licenses of the Triangle Market, Smokin’ Jacks Bar B Que and Escapades, formerly Danny’s.

– the council discussed taking action on cutting timber at the airport

– the council also agreed to fund the River City Rumble for one more year.

– Artur Davis will also be at the Theo Ratliff Center handing out clothes.

The next meeting of the Demopolis City Council is set for July 6 at 5:15.