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Bethlehem residents to purchase country club



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Bethlehem residents Mark and Kim Koprowski announced their intention to purchase the town's historic country club at last week's Select Board meeting. (Photo by Angel Larcom) (click for larger version)
June 27, 2020
BETHLEHEM — More than a year after the historic 137-acre Bethlehem Country Club hit the market, a local couple has decided to purchase the property. The news comes after several interested parties backed away.

At last week's Select Board meeting Kim Koprowski discussed her and husband Mark's plans for the real estate.

"My intention is not to come in and change everything. One of the things I've loved about Bethlehem since we moved here is that you are greeted by a golf course on either end of town when you enter. I would hate to see it get sold and become condos or rentals. I want to restore the clubhouse to some of the grandeur that it used to have," she stated.

According to Koprowski, a purchase and sales agreement is being drafted. Despite potential appraisal delays due to the pandemic, she hopes to assume ownership before the foliage season begins.

The Bethlehem residents intend to maintain normal golf course operations with the current management remaining in place. Initial improvements would include new decking and a modernized kitchen.

Koprowski said they had been looking for a commercial property in Bethlehem eight months ago. She plans to operate the restaurant year-round after building improvements that allow such an operation.

"We wanted to support the town and we wanted our business in Bethlehem. By the time we got done looking, everything was in the same price range. I think we've got more than what the other properties were offering with the golf course," noted Koprowski.

The Select Board retained the services of Keller Williams Realty last year to analyze the property and assist with locating an appropriate lessee. The golf course needed an estimated $450,000 investment to get it into shape, including improvements to both the clubhouse and the grounds.

According to the study findings, the condition of the golf course grounds was average to below average compared to similar operations. Several long-term maintenance issues were affecting the value of the property including sprinkler boxes that have fallen into disrepair and drainage issues at several holes.

Both the interior and the exterior of the clubhouse needed attention, including insulation of walls and windows. The study also suggested that the clubhouse restaurant should be updated and operated year-round.

Last July the Select Board signed a letter of intent for the long-term lease of the country club by an unidentified party. The deal collapsed after four months of negotiations.

At Monday's meeting, Selectman Bruce Caplain said, "We had a number of conversations with interested parties and it hasn't worked. Kim and Mark came forward with their interest in the golf course. Having some locals who really understand and appreciate the golf course and what it does for the town is great. They are great people to have involved."

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