By Lyndsie Ferrell
SOUTH FORK— The Upper Rio Grande Economic Development (URGED) group met for their monthly meeting on Tuesday, May 8 and welcomed the general manager of the Rio Grande Club in South Fork as the keynote speaker.
Todd Small has been the manager of the club for several years and has served under countless owners until the most recent owner came to bring the club and the town back to life.
Small explained that the club has been in disrepair for many years and being under different owners has been difficult to keep a steady schedule challenging. A year ago, the club was purchased by the Freeman Holdings Group out of Kansas City, Kan. The family who owns the company and now the club and golf course have spent the last year working to improve not only the club, but the community of South Fork as well.
“They see potential here and have spent over $3.2 Million on property in the area and renovating the club house. The family has recently purchased 77 lots in the South Fork area and plan to build vacation rentals and fourplex homes to market for sale. They spent a considerable amount of money renovating the restaurant, adding new carpet to the dining area and will be working with local contractors on getting the course up to date for summer guests,” explained Small.
Small continued, stating that the club has increased their members in the year since the Freeman family purchased the property going from a meager 24 members to the current 121 members for the year. “This has been a great first year and the efforts that are being put forth into the club are beginning to pay off. We plan to push for even more in the next year and will start to market the area as a place to come live. Right now, 80 percent of our members are summer guests and the new owners would like to see that number change,” said Small.
The club did 8,200 rounds of golf for the season last year which was a significant increase from the 6,000 they did the previous year. Small explained that the club will also be welcoming a new executive chef that has an extensive background in culinary achievements and will be opening daily for lunch and dinner beginning Memorial Day weekend.
Some of the properties purchased by the family are near town, where they hope to create another area of homes that will either be rented through the club or sold to interested parties. Other lots that were purchased are located to the west of the club and plans for what the family wants to do with those are still underway. Small stated that the family is focused on what they can do in South Fork and that their commitment is to the town and the potential they see in the area.
“It is really great to have these people on board. They know their companies, what is happening at each given moment in each and where they stand,” finished Small.
For more information, please visit www.riograndeclubandresort.com or call 873-1995.