DRACUT -- In the eyes of Dracut selectmen, former Meadow Creek members, and most homeowners living next to the barricaded golf course, the owners of the newly renamed "Four Oaks Country Club" make a fabulous foursome, Selectman Robert Cox said.
Selectmen voted unanimously, 5-0, at Tuesday night's meeting to approve the business-license transfer of the former Meadow Creek Golf Club to Dracut residents Mike and Cindy Kuenzler, and Peter and Tina Niarhos.
Their ownership group is in the final stages of ironing out the details of purchasing the troubled golf course from Bank of New England and MR5-A, Mike Kuenzler told the board. Kuenzler declined to disclose the purchase price that Four Oaks is paying until after the closing, "which we expect to happen sometime in the next three or four weeks," he said.
Upon the board's approval of the license transfer, Kuenzler said the front nine holes of the course will be reopened to golfers by sometime next week.
"How happy I am these gentlemen and ladies are doing this; they're going to be a great team," said Selectman John Zimini. "I'm excited that you're the ones stepping forward and taking this on, and as far as I'm concerned we can't go wrong with these guys and gals."
The clubhouse will remain closed for some "critical renovations that we want to get done," said Kuenzler. "So we won't be serving any alcohol as we are still going through the liquor-license application process. But we may have some hot dogs and soda to offer.
Paid memberships held by former Meadow Creek Golf Club golfers will be honored through the end of 2012, Kuenzler said.
"We will not open the clubhouse right away. We've got some renovations that we feel are critical to our game plan that we want to get done, and we don't have a liquor license yet," said Kuenzler. "So we may be offering some soft drinks and hot dogs out there. But we do want to get the barriers removed and let the people of Dracut know of the commitment we're willing to make to this business."
Changing the name to the Four Oaks Country Club will help them make a fresh start, the four principals decided.
Kuenzler, the owner of All-Sports Promotions of Lowell and a past investor in Meadow Creek, and Niarhos, a dentist, said they have received much encouragement from golfers and fellow Dracut residents since they revealed their interest in purchasing the combined golf course and clubhouse to a Sun reporter during a walk-through of the property in August.
"We need the function (hall bookings), we need all of that stuff. So we're going to make the commitment. We're hoping everyone is going to get behind it," Kuenzler added.
In light of the pending sale and Four Oaks ownership's plan to quickly re-open the course to golfers, the concrete barriers that MR5-A set up in January -- to keep the course's former owners from using the parking lot and clubhouse after they fell behind on payments -- will be removed starting Thursday, MR5-A representative Thomas Tavenner informed selectmen.
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"The residents in the area have got to be absolutely thrilled that those Jersey barriers are coming down this week," said Selectman Robert Cox. "This is the best news I've heard in God knows how long."
"It was previously known for being a pristine golf course, and our intention is to get it back to that," said Kuenzler. "We're four local people, and we've all been in business together and know the challenges up there, and that we're going to need the selectmen and community to partner up with us to work together on this, because golf courses are a tough deal right now."
Cox added that based on his having known Kuenzler for decades, "If anybody can make this work, it's going to be Mike Kuenzler."