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Group Asks to Lease Part of Elks Club Building

The former Elks Club property. Photo by Carla Occaso.
This article was updated August 9 to correct errors.

No decision on what to do with the city-owned Elks Club golf course property has been made but a nonprofit entity is asking to lease half of the existing clubhouse and banquet facility on a short-term basis and use it as a social center, bar, and restaurant. 

A group called The HUB has asked the city council to grant them a two- or three-year lease to allow them to renovate half of the existing clubhouse while the city gathers public input and deliberates on an overall plan for the 138-acre property, a process that could take years. The council will take up the group’s request at its August 24 meeting.

“We are respectful of the need and desire for a public process for the Elks Club property but at the same time we’re ready to move forward with The HUB project on this property as soon as possible,” HUB president Ethan Atkin said. “We are anxious not to wait until the final decisions have been made.”

The HUB was in negotiations with the former owners of the country club before city voters decided in March to purchase the property for a $2 million bond (plus an additional $1 million in recreation funds) and develop it for recreation, housing, and open space. 

The HUB is also asking the city to commit a certain number of acres for the group to build a separate sports barn that would house indoor racquet sports courts and other recreational facilities. The cost of renovating the existing building and construction of the new building is estimated at $3 million, Atkin said.

The HUB’s stated mission, filed with the city, is to provide a safe inclusive space for activities and recreational programs that enhance the health and wellness of the community. Run by local volunteers, the aim is to create a membership-based center that offers social events such as chess, music, guest speakers, crafts, book clubs, story-telling, disc golf, bocce, etc. Outdoor sports would include biking, rock climbing, and horseshoes. Also envisioned are indoor sports such as racquet sports. Childcare and a retail outlet would also be part of the center.

Another aspect of the proposal is to involve local schools by offering summer programs and sports lessons/clinics.

The plan is for the organization to raise $3 million through fundraising, loans, and grants.