Baltusrol to Join Business Improvement District
Famed golf club to be part of self-financed business improvement effort.
A year after the formation of the Springfield Business Improvement District, one of Springfield’s most prominent businesses is set to join it.
Earlier this month, representatives of the Business Improvement district told the Springfield Township Committee that the Baltusrol Golf Club would soon be a BID member. The famed golf club was left out of the BID’s list of participating businesses after debate among officials and business owners.
The business improvement district was established in August of 2010, and is headed by Beth Lippman, who has run similar efforts in Livingston and Pompton Lakes. Under the terms of the BID, businesses in the district collectively pay for improvements, promotions and maintenance for all three of Springfield’s major shopping districts: the Morris Ave. downtown area, Mountain Ave. and route 22.
Baltusrol, founded in 1895, is one of the highest rated private golf courses in America. It hosted the PGA Championship in 2005 and is set to host it again in 2016.
The golf course was one of few commercial businesses exempt from the BID. While several current and former Springfield elected officials were hesitant to add Baltusrol to the group, BID representatives said that business owners felt it was unfair that the high-profile and lucrative golf club was excluded. BID Executive Director Beth Lippman said the vote to include Baltusrol in the BID was unanimous.
Discussing Baltusrol inclusion into the BID at a Township Committee meeting earlier this month, Springfield Mayor Ziad Shehady expressed support for the club’s membership in the business coalition.
“They are a commercial property and they are on the [tax] rolls as a commercial property,” Shehady said.
Former Mayor Sy Mullman worried that if required to join the BID, Baltusrol might be discouraged from its charitable outreach to the town, including the annual Mayor’s Day Golf outing for Dayton students. Township Committee member Richard Huber expressed concerns about the township being a “good neighbor” to Baltrusol.
As a BID member, Baltusrol will be responsible for the annual fee supporting the BID. Previously, BID members said, Baltusrol’s management had expressed support for the BID and pledged to make two donations, one for each of the years the BID has existed, neither of which ultimately materialized. BID chairman Mike Scalera said that Baltrusol would be responsible for $30,000 annually as BID members.
“They didn’t remember agreeing to the donations,” Lippman said.
Lippman has spearheaded business improvement efforts in Livingston, Pompton Lakes and other municipalities. She said that golf courses in those towns have paid into their BIDs.
Baltrusol did not respond to requests for comment.