FORT SMITH (KFSM) — A country club in Fort Smith that has been open for decades will be closing at the end of 2018.
Managers at Fianna Hills Country Club in south Fort Smith confirmed to 5NEWS the decision to close was made late Tuesday (Dec. 18) afternoon because of finances.
Letters were sent out Tuesday to members detailing the closure. The letter states doors will close for good on December 31, 2018.
General Manager Gary Carmack did not return requests for comment on Wed. (Dec 19.). Members of the club told 5NEWS that they wish the club's management would brief them on the future of the club. Many are wondering what the closure will mean for their property values.
"To the past owner and the current owner, we want them to know how grateful and thankful I am, my family is and all the people who have utilized the club for so man years," said Fianna Hills resident Kelly Swaim. " I was so upset. I have spent my entire life over 40 years as a member going up there with my family. When I was a child, I spent many many hours there. My children are now 17 and 20, and when they were kids, we did the same thing."
Swaim said she remembers meetings held by community members in 2014 when there was news of the club being sold then. A petition was circulating among residents after an announcement of a developer wanting to purchase the country club and golf course and build more residential homes. At the time, FSM Redevelopment Partners had planned to buy the country club and triple its size from 27,000 square feet to 83,550 square feet. The group backed out of the deal and told Talk Business and Politics that the club hadn't made much of a profit in the previous four years and they did not want to speculate that they could change that directory.
There have also been rumors through city leaders that the Choctaw Casino in Pocola is looking to either build or acquire a gold course to go along with their resort type feel. When asked if the Choctaw Nation is looking at purchasing the Fianna Hills Country Club they responded with they are not interested in the property.
Fianna Hills Country Club did sell their private liquor license to a new business coming to Fort Smith's downtown a few months ago.
"People all had to have private license years ago, and then they introduced the restaurant license, but the private license were owned and passed down through families and through friends or sold. Once you had a license in the state of Arkansas and you weren't utilizing that license and you wanted to you could sell it to them," said Buddy Kell the General Manager of 906 Lounge and Cocktails.
906 Lounge is currently under construction on Garrison Avenue and is set to open the first part of 2019. 906 Lounge will be a private liquor and cigar club that has free membership and open to everyone. There will also be paid memberships that will give members a locker on-premise, information on exclusive deals and offers, invitations to private parties and the choice to purchase exclusive cigars and liquor.
"One of the things we are really excited about is we will have a humidor down there, and we will offer quality hand rolled cigars for anyone to buy," Kell said. "You will be able to find your usual beers and wine. We will have all of that for you. But what we want to do is offer you an opportunity to try some of the more top-shelf alcohols. There will be the same types of alcohols that you can get in New York City, San Francisco, and Miami that you won't find around here."
To check out what they have to offer and a sneak peek inside of the club click here.