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Ives Hill to remain open for 2013

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There is good news for local golfers. Ives Hill Country Club will be open for play the entire 2013 golfing season, including all 18 holes.

Despite rumors to the contrary, the course on the city’s south side will be available for year-long memberships, golf outings and public play.

Owner P. J. Simao said Friday that despite talk about the facility closing down completely, or being reduced to just the old nine holes, “I’m totally committed to keeping it open this season. Ives Hill is a great course, with a great history. I believe it is a quality-of-life issue that we try to keep it open.’’

Simao, who purchased the club in 2007, put the entire property up for sale in August. Made up of three parcels, it includes a 55-acre parcel, which includes the clubhouse and restaurant, a 16-acre parcel along Weldon Drive, and a 63-acre parcel off Ives Street Road behind Immaculate Heart Central School. He said then it was his intention to restrict the sale of the clubhouse and the Weldon Drive property to a buyer who agrees to continue to maintain the property as a golf course.

In early December, Simao proposed a 529-unit apartment complex on the last parcel, which encompasses holes 4-12 on the course. Those holes were added to the original nine-hole layout in the early 1970s.

But he said as of today, “those plans are up in the air and we plan on keeping those holes open throughout the golfing season.’’

Simao said he waited for offers on the land until the first of the year. Once that deadline passed, he began making plans to open the entire course back up for play this season.

“I believe it’s still an asset for the city,” Simao said. “And it seems there are a lot of people that care about keeping it open. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough willing to commit to helping us do that in the long term.”

Simao has offered a new membership structure and hopes that longtime members and new golfers take advantage of “one of the premier golf courses in Northern New York.”

As for the future, Simao said he had “no definitive answers’’ on what to do with the land. “It’s going to depend on a lot of factors. Hopefully, we can work it out to the benefit of everybody,’’ he said.

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