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Empty promises and a lack of progress on a new Par 3 golf course in Jefferson Valley forced teed off Yorktown officials to take action last week. After being updated about continued delays and unresolved issues at the facility on almost 14 acres of town-owned property on Route 6 near the Jefferson Valley Mall, a frustrated Town Board instructed Building Inspector John Landi to issue a stop work order to golf course operator RC Recreation on July 6.
Parks and Recreation Superintendent James Martorano Jr. was also told to seek a new company through an RFP (Request for Proposal) to take over the project.
“I’m tired of the double talk and the double speak,” said Councilman Sergio Esposito. “We want the project to move forward, but it’s not happening. It’s too much at this point. I just don’t think they can do the job. We want this open for our residents.”
Town officials reached the brink with RC Recreation after the nine-hole course was not ready to open on July 4 as was anticipated.
The property has not been used since 2007 when Shallow Greek Golf Course shut down. In 2014, town officials entered into a 10-year agreement with RC Recreation to restore the site as Valley Fields Golf Course but progress stalled when RC President Rocco Cambareri died in 2017.
In 2018, the lease with RC was extended to 2028 when one of Cambareri’s partners assumed control. In 2020, Valley Fields was fined by the state for doing work without a required permit. A 2021 spring or summer possible opening never materialized. In December 2021, the town’s Planning Board approved the site plan for Valley Fields.
Last week, Landi outlined 18 “barebones necessities” that RC Recreation needed to resolve before even considering having golfers tee off. The number of items prompted Landi to react to a comment Councilman Tom Diana made about the golf course not being ready for a year.
“Your estimation of next year is a dream,” Landi remarked.
Martorano said only three of the nine holes were in playable condition. The clubhouse also left a lot to be desired with Landi saying, “The kitchen is a disaster.”
Supervisor Matt Slater said there were significant safety issues at the site and criticized RC Recreation for “blatantly” refusing to meet with the Town Board when invited.
“This is a tremendous disappointment to this community,” Slater said. “We wanted to see them succeed. We believed in it. We wanted it to be a great thing for the town. It’s about time we got to this point.”
“This game has to stop,” said Councilwoman Luciana Haughwout. “There’s always setbacks. At this point when do the excuses stop? I don’t have any more faith (in RC Recreation).”
Landi also revealed that two campers have been planted on the property for more than a year, with one allegedly being used as a dwelling. Slater said when Landi and Yorktown Police visited there was evidence of someone living in the camper and they were ordered to leave by Friday.
Rick has more than 40 years’ experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, running the gamut from politics and crime to sports and human interest. He has been an editor at Examiner Media since 2012. Read more from Rick’s editor-author bio here. Read Rick’s work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/pezzullo_rick-writer/