Graffiti and broken windows came to light Tuesday at the D’Andrea golf course clubhouse, which was partly renovated after a water pipe burst earlier this year, after KOLO Channel 8 News discussed the issue on its evening news. The report spawned Secret Witness to offer a reward for information about the vandalism and also reminded residents that the vacant building has gotten worse.
“Honestly, I didn’t know about it until I heard it on the news,” D’Andrea neighborhood resident Taryn Bjelke said Wednesday. “It is just sad. I don’t know how else to say it. It is one of the most beautiful views in Washoe County up there and for it to be wasted like this is just sad. There is no security overseeing it and they are going to end up with squatters in there if something isn’t done soon.”
Golf course and club house owner Will Gustafson told Channel 8’s Ed Pearce “no one would play golf here again,” and Pearce said in his report that Gustafson plans to submit permits to renovate the clubhouse and revive it as an events center. The clubhouse was once home to a restaurant and hosted weddings and similar events in the past, and Bjelke said revamping the facility to once again host events would be a positive step.
“I think the event center idea is a good idea,” she said. “It was supposed to have an athletic club and pool but that never happened. I think if it did have those things and a nice restaurant that specialized in something it would really nice. They have so much land and such a great view that it would be really great.”
Unfortunately, the greens and fairways of the D’Andrea Golf Course are far from being renovated, a realization the D’Andrea community accepted long ago.
“It really seems that the golf course has just been forgotten,” D’Andrea resident Bob Daniels said. “I have been looking at the graffiti since last winter and just recently I saw most of the windows were broken. They have just let the course die and the weeds are knee-high to waist-high in some places. It is a shame.
“I think anything they could turn the clubhouse into that’s a positive thing would be great. Anything to where it is not dark and empty in there. If UNR is planning to put vineyards out here maybe they could use it for making wine or teaching classes.”
Community assets are still in place, such as Marvin Moss Elementary School where new principal Alyson Kendrick has not seen any sort of vandalism around the school. She said a big factor could be the amount of daily traffic coming through.
“I haven’t seen it,” Kendrick said in reference to any vandalism at the school or around the community. “It has been very busy over here with school being back in and we have had evening practices for soccer and parent nights the last few days where 400 or 500 people are coming and going. That might be a deterrent for any vandalism.”
D’Andrea residents hope that renovations, or any sort of action regarding the course and club house, begin soon given that continued vandalism has become a problem. Bjelke, a 13-year resident of the area, said she has seen invasive tire tracks across the fairways in the past, which have since been covered by mass amounts of weeds and brush.
“My biggest concern is, from what I understand, the same owner has taken over it as before,” Bjelke said. “There were so many hurt feelings from the people in this community when the golf course closed. The residents need to be involved with what is going on. Maybe they could ask residents to help or maintain some of it. Any involvement would be an improvement.”
Nine-year D’Andrea resident Katy Trevino had similar feelings regarding community involvement. She said D’Andrea is “still a great community” but she would like to see something done about the golf course and club house.
“I have seen them doing some surveying on the golf course and I heard they want to put grape vines in. I don’t know how well that would work,” Trevino said. “I definitely would like to see it come back. I think they should do something that is more community oriented up there. I know they held a few events before but I think they need to have the surrounding community more involved.”
“I think we feel that we are being kept in the dark, but I think it feels that way because the managers don’t really know what they are going to do. They might not have any plans in place yet so it feels like we are being kept out of the loop.”
The disconnection between the owner of the golf course and club house leave residents believing that if any plans are made for changes they would not be notified. Bjelke said the non-communicative practice must end for anything to get done.
“There needs to be talk about what the residents can do to help,” Bjelke said. “We all have an investment in the community and the majority of people I speak with say it is a great area and that clubhouse was our centerpiece. We all need to put our egos aside and work together.”