Colonial Acres Golf Course is Bethlehem's newest asset. Through the combination of a $375,000 grant from the state and $525,000 from the Open Space Conservancy of New York, the town will lease the golf course from the Conservancy for $1 a year and pay for the day-to-day operations.
As you can see, this course is a true treasure to our community, said Bethlehem town supervisor Jack Cunningham, standing behind a podium overlooking the clubhouse and course that has held a long history in the town.
"It means no housing; it means a golf course; it means a lot of hard work to make it a special kind of golf course," said Peter Strand, president and one of the founding members of the not-for-profit Colonial Acres Golf Course.
Colonial Acres began as a four-hole golf course 50 years ago, and with the assistance of course superintendent Pat Bloom, it now has the highest environmental ratings of any golf course in the country.
"He has been the superintendent, and he has been dedicated to this whole process," said Strand, referring to the work Bloom has performed over the past 13 years.
Bloom will now become an employee of the town and continue to oversee the course operations.
"The original owners were great, and the town hasn't missed a beat," said Bloom.
Colonial Acres now has 85 trees compared to 25 trees when Bloom was first hired with more than 38 species of birds making their homes on the course, including the eastern blue bird, catbird, cardinal and Baltimore oriole. Bloom said the reason he has dedicated so much effort into upgrading the natural beauty of the course is for his daughter Samantha.
"It's her future," said Bloom, pointing to his daughter. "The song garden I built for my daughter."
Open Space Conservancy has preserved thousands of acres of land across the state, including 10,000 acres in the Adirondacks and 3,000 acres in Moreau State Park.