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Gannon manager tees up new bid for course

LYNN Armed with an improvement plan, Gannon Municipal Golf Course’s manager submitted a $2.38 million proposal Friday to operate the course for five more years.

Golf Facilities Management Inc. (GFMI), which has operated Gannon for six years, was the sole bidder in time to meet Friday’s noon submission deadline.

City Purchasing Agent Tim Leonard said the proposal will be submitted to the Board of Park Commissioners for review. The board’s next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 3.

“GFMI is looking forward to continuing its relationship with the city,” said Chris Carter, company secretary-treasurer.

The proposal’s approval, following review, requires approval by the Parks Commissioners and the City Council.

GFMI has been operating under a $450,000 one-year extension, which expires Dec. 31, after its lower bid for a five-year contract was rejected by the commission in December. 

At the time, city Chief Financial Officer Michael Bertino recommended the city accept only bids higher than the amount GFMI was paying the city.

The proposal submitted by the company Friday sets out a $480,000 annual payment to the city for the first and second contract years with a $460,000 fee in the third year and $480,000 fees in the fourth and fifth years. 

Operation responsibilities encompass the 190-acre golf course, banquet/restaurant facilities, bar concession, function hall, pro shop and snack shop. 

Gannon has seen multi-year course improvements under GFMI’s management, said Carter and company president Stephen Murphy, including second-, third-, fourth- and fifth-hole car-path improvements and fourth- and fifth-hole tee improvements last year.

Scheduled improvements this fall include 12th- and 13th-hole car-path improvements and work on the 13th hole tee.

Murphy said he will urge the commission to consider proposing a city bond order to pay for $3 million in Gannon irrigation system improvements. 

“It’s a circa-1963 system,” he said. 

GFMI also runs courses in North Reading and Beverly and its request for proposal submission includes details on these course operations and information on Gannon’s operation along with letters of reference.

An expense sheet included in the proposal lists $2.76 million in Gannon revenue in 2019 and $1.5 million in expenses. 

Gannon, located on Great Woods Road and built in 1929, has been put out to bid twice, in 2013 and 2018, but both times, there was only one respondent to the RFP. 

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