FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — Community members in the Fianna Hills neighborhood of Fort Smith came together to talk about the next steps for the country club that closed at the end of last year.
In December, members of the Fianna Hills Country Club were informed that at the end of the month the club would be closing. Since then, the building has sat empty, the golf course unused and the grass overgrown.
"We just wanted to find out who wanted to participate," said resident David Webb. "Was there enough interest in our community to move the ball forward and we had a lot of good ideas tonight? Different then what I had come into the meeting expecting."
According to members of the neighborhood property owners association, before the club closed it had been losing thousands of dollars a month.
An idea to turn the club into a community center where people could come together was tossed around during the meeting.
"Kind of the hub of the community and have activities at the club, a restaurant that serves good food where people can visit," Webb said. "Be able to have events there, business meetings, and weddings, and Christmas parties and things. It’s one of the most beautiful views in Fort Smith, there’s no reason for that building to sit there and not be taken advantage of."
The biggest sentiment shared by most in the room is that something needs to be done soon or the club and golf course would fall into disrepair.
The general consensus being that increased involvement by all 1,600 households in the community is the key.
“How can we as a community come together to support event a potential buyer with the idea that there are people that are ready to revitalize the conversation of membership and not only of the property owners association, membership with the country club," said Forefront Church Pastor Lee Kemp.
Organizers say this is the first of many meetings.
There are plans to start Facebook groups and canvassing the neighborhood to keep the conversation going.
The 18-hole course opened in 1973. In 2004, the course was renovated, providing new green complexes, bunkering and tee complexes.