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Lake celebrates new clubhouse opening

After more than two years, countless committee meetings, and about $7 million dollars, the leadership of the Lake Monticello Owners’ Association (LMOA) celebrated the official end of the renovation and replacement (R&R) project with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new Fairway Clubhouse on Monday (May 1).

“I have just one thing to say,” quipped LMOA Board President Rich Barringer. “Finally!”

Treasurer Marlene Weaver cut the ribbon. Barringer lauded her as the guiding force behind the massive R&R project. 

Barringer also praised the design team, Grimm + Parker Architects of Charlottesville, and Nielson Builders for making the project a reality. James D. DeLucas, Jr., chief development officer of Nielson, presented symbolic keys to both the Ashlawn and Fairway buildings to the directors and LMOA General Manager Catherine Neelley.    

More than 200 people filed in to tour the 9,240 square foot building. Among the highlights are a new golf pro shop, updated locker rooms and interiors, an airy new pub space with six big-screen TVs, meeting rooms, and even a new headquarters for the Lake Monticello Broadcast Group.  

Both Fairway and Ashlawn Clubhouses are now fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and are equipped with more energy-efficient HVAC, water, and lighting systems. 

One amenity that has not opened yet is the Fairway Pub. A request for vendors to run the pub and the Ashlawn Grille failed to yield any qualified bidders.

The consulting firm Precision Hospitality conducted a study this spring and concluded that LMOA running the dining facilities themselves allowed “lower costs and the potential for a higher return on investment,” said Neelley.

To fund initial inventory and staff, the Board of Directors approved a proposal to loan the dining facilities money from the Short Term Operating Account (STOFA). In theory, the pub could draw a loan of $227,000 from STOFA, but Neelley stressed that “the Board does not anticipate needing the entire amount to get food service up and running.”

The directors also agreed to prioritize the hiring of a food and beverage manager, delivering $56,000 from payroll initially earmarked for a new events coordinator. The events position will be filled later in the year.

Neelley said Precision Hospitality will consult on menu planning, inventory control and screen applicants for the management position. At the moment, there’s no announced timetable for the opening of the pub. Ashlawn will be available for catered events, with “regular restaurant hours potentially coming later,” said Neelley.