2015-01-14 / Front Page

Municipal golf course may get $100,000 in improvements

BY TONY VINDELL
Reporter


MUNICIPAL GOLF COURSE manager Lupe Serna talks about the improvements he would like to make. 
(Photo by TonyVindell) MUNICIPAL GOLF COURSE manager Lupe Serna talks about the improvements he would like to make. (Photo by TonyVindell) For the last seven years, Lupe Serna has been leasing the municipal golf course from the City of Raymondville.

And throughout those years, he has noticed how the old facility has become sort of an old fashioned place for golf lovers.

After all, the nine-hole golf course is one of the oldest in this part of South Texas and one of the cheapest to play.

Serna, 49, said he started playing golf right here when he was 12 years old, worked at several golf courses in the Rio Grande Valley and decided to be on his own by leasing the place from the city.

“There are a lot of things I would like to do here,” he said. “One of those things is to have a snack bar, add a section to sell golf products and fix up the place.”

Serna said the old ceiling needs to go so does the rundown carpet.

He said that having enough outlets to plug in appliances is another thing he wants to improve.

The same goes with the leaking cover attached to the main building.

“This place used to be a country club,” Serna said. “it even had a swimming pool.”

But that changed about four decades ago.

Serna said the vast majority of the golf course customers are Winter Texans, but added that their numbers have been declining.

He also said the facility attracts people from Harlingen, Rio Hondo, La Feria and from other towns and is a popular place to hold fund-raisings for a number of local organizations.

But to better keep up with time, Serna said he has been approaching the city about doing something to lure new clients.

He leases the golf course for $300 a month from the city and keeps it open all year round.

“We closed this past Christmas Day for the first time,” he said. “I do just about everything on my own.”

Serna said that another project he has in mind is to apply for a liquor license to sell beer and wine.

“I do sell hot dogs, chips and soft drinks,” he said. “But I would like to be able to offer beer and wine to people playing golf so they can sit and relax after they are done playing.”

Serna’s ideas have been heard by city officials and if they follow through, they are about to inject an infusion of dollars from the Economic Development Corp. of Raymondville.

The EDC board and the city commission have approved a public hearing to fund up to $100,000 for the golf course “in order to enhance the quality of life,”

The EDC board met Monday and the city commission did so Tuesday.

City Manager Eleazar Garcia said they want to fix the ceiling, floor, lighting system and other things in need of improvement.

In other action, the city commission approved:

- A performance agreement with Wing Champs.

The bar and grill received a grant for $80,000 to open at the Raymondville Plaza.

Under the agreement, the business is to employ 10 full-time workers each earning $10 an hour and will put up its equipment as collateral.

- A request from State Rep. Ryan Guillen to lease office space at the Raymondville Rural Technical Center.

- A notice for the May 9 regular election.

The seats of Mayor Orlando “Lonnie” Correa and Commissioners Mary Gutierrez and Yolanda Alexandre will be up for grabs in May.

- Approved a lease for office space for the first driving school in town.

Rick Villarreal, with Let’s Roll Driving School, said they are coming to Raymondville to provide a convenient way for people to learn to drive.

They chose the location because the Rural Technology Center is across from Raymondville High School.

The commission held a public hearing for the condemnation of five houses.

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