Vermilion Oaks Country Club is the only golf course in Vermilion Parish. The Abbeville City Council discussed bringing the course into the city and possibly taking over operations.
Abbeville Council discusses possibility of taking over operation of Vermilion Oaks
When the owners of Vermilion Oaks Country Club announced plans to suspended operations last October, someone suggested that the City of Abbeville take over the operations.
Nearly one year later, city officials are looking into that possibility.
The Abbeville City Council voted during Tuesday’s regular meeting to allow Mayor Mark Piazza to form a committee and look into the possibility of the city taking over operations of the golf course, which is owned by the Broussard family. The Council voted 4-0 on the motion, with Councilwoman Roslyn White, a member of the Broussard family, recusing herself from the vote and discussion.
“Although by definition it may not be unethical for me to participate or vote on this issue,” White said in a statement during the meeting, “I do think that my close proximity to Vermilion Oaks property makes it inappropriate for me to participate in the discussion or the vote.
“I don’t want my personal affiliation to influence this council in any way.”
Councilman Francis Touchet Jr. brought the issue to the table on Tuesday.
“I just want us to have a discussion and get some feedback,” Touchet said. “In no way whatsoever do I feel we have the amount of money to go and purchase that particular property. I would think if there was anything we would be looking at, it would be some type of lease. That’s what I would want the Mayor to pursue with the owners.”
One hurdle would be annexing the property into the city. Part of the course is already in the city. Attorney Ike Funderburk is going to look into what the city could do to incorporate the remainder of the more than 100-acre course.
“What would be the process of bringing that property into the city limits?,” Touchet asked. “Would the family be OK with that?”
Touchet said the cost of keeping up the grounds and maintenance are other issues that need to be given a good look.
“We need to know what that cost is,” Touchet said. “We also need to see what insurance will cost if we add that to the city’s liability.”
Setting green fees and staffing the course would be other issues to be discussed.
“Before we do anything,” Touchet said, “we are going to have all of our facts lined up.”
Playing a part in that process will be the committee that the mayor puts together.
“We could get a small advisory committee among some of the professionals here in the community,” Piazza said. “They can give us some ideas and help us with the research and the proper questions to ask.”
Piazza said he feels the course is an important economic driver for the city.
“The golf course can be as important as our airport,” Piazza said. “It’s something that attracts people to Abbeville. They come here and they eat at our restaurants and they buy gas at our gas stations.
“It is important to the economy of our city.”
Touchet said that is his focus.
“I am concerned with providing a golf course,” Touchet said, “for citizens of Abbeville to utilize and most importantly for the youth of the different high schools to have some place to play.”