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Letter: Promise of high-end fitness club's revenue sounds familiar

11:58 AM EST, January 24, 2013

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Your headline on the Jan. 3 letter, "Columbia Association official says club is a solid investment," seems like an eerie echo from the past.

This rosy prediction for CA's high-end fitness club recalls the myth CA staff  were promulgating 20-some years ago about the Fairway Hills Golf Course. That's Fairway Hills, as in the golf course that, since its opening in FY'96, has lost money every year, for a total of $8,637,000.

This is a far cry from what CA staff projected when they sought $5.2 million from the CA Board to develop Fairway Hills. (The land was a "gift" from the Rouse Company.)  Their November 1992 Pro Forma states that, "From the third year, the course would continue to make money annually, and by its ninth year would completely erase its accumulated deficit.  At that point" (projected to be 2004) "the annual profit would be available to fund other programs and services of the Association."

CA's assessment payers can hardly be faulted for questioning the staff's assertion that the new fitness facility will not only pay for itself but also "generate revenue that would then be used to subsidize many of CA's other programs."

Ginger Scott

Columbia