Sunday, June 16, 2024
    HomePoliticsThe politics of ⛳ in Providence

    The politics of ⛳ in Providence

    Proposal: Providence mayoral candidates Gonzalo Cuervo, Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune, and Brett Smiley should play a round of golf at Triggs this weekend to decide the winner of the Democratic primary. I’ll volunteer to be their fourth.

    The future of Triggs has managed to make its way into the race, with management at the course sending an e-mail to members and regulars this week urging them to support Smiley because Cuervo floated an idea to me in December to sell the 140 acres of land that make up the course and its facilities in order to build more housing.

    Golf News RI was first to report this week that Cuervo has backed off his idea, but that didn’t stop Triggs from sending the e-mail to a few thousand golfers endorsing Smiley. A spokesman for LaFortune didn’t respond to a request for comment.

    There has been talk in the past about the possibility of selling Triggs.

    A consultant hired by Mayor Jorge Elorza in his first term floated a number of ideas for generating new revenue in Providence – including selling the water system – and it projected that the city could fetch $22 million for selling the Donald Ross-designed course.

    Elorza never seriously explored a sale.

    There is currently a request for proposals out for a 10-year management contract for the course, and submissions are due Sept. 12, the day before the primary. The new agreement would begin Jan. 1.

    The city is seeking to be paid a minimum of $200,000 a year for those management rights, and a consultant hired by the city is recommending $1 million in improvements to the course and its facilities.

    Golf course contracts are fascinating: There’s even a specification for how often the bunkers must be raked. You can learn more about the city’s requirements here; click on the rfp attachment link and scroll down to Page 17.

    As for the mayor’s race, with no public polling, it’s kind of like the approach shot at the par-five 10th hole at Triggs: We’re flying a little blind.

    Smiley has been the perceived favorite for most of the race, but Cuervo has a ton of momentum thanks to Elorza’s endorsement, and LaFortune is running hard down the stretch.

    If the three candidates are too sick of each other to play a full round of golf together, we could have a putting contest to settle the race.

    This story first appeared in Rhode Map, our free newsletter about Rhode Island that also contains information about local events, data about the coronavirus in the state, and more. If you’d like to receive it via e-mail Monday through Friday, you can sign up here.

    Dan McGowan can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @danmcgowan.



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