EAST PROVIDENCE — The city and New Agawam LLC reached an agreement late last week over the historic club’s municipal debts, ending a months long process to settle the dispute.
New Agawam, which purchased Agawam Hunt in receivership earlier this year, had been seeking to find an amicable conclusion with the city as it tries to bring the 120-year-old golf, tennis and swim club located in Rumford out of bankruptcy. The owners were seeking an end to the stalemate with the city as part of their effort to submit a restructuring plan by a court-mandated deadline last week.
During a special session of the council held Friday, Oct. 20, City Manager Tim Chapman announced the owners and East Providence’s receivership attorney had forged an agreement over the monies the club owed for unpaid real estate taxes as well as water/sewer charges. New Agawam will immediately pay all its outstanding water/sewer charges and will shortly pay the city slightly less than $362,000 to make its real estate tax account whole as of the start of the new fiscal year.
“This is all payable now as of November 1 or 2 as opposed to three, five, 10 years down the road waiting for that money,” Mr. Chapman said, referring to the potential of the club’s bankruptcy proceeding dragging out the payment process.
As a side benefit, the monies received will be added into the city’s FY2017-18 budget, allowing for a lessening of an anticipated tax increase from 1.83 percent to 1.48 for residential property owners.
In addition, the club and city reached an understanding to continue an existing maintenance contract for the municipal park, Freedom Green, which sits adjacent to Agawam Hunt at the intersection of Centre Street and North Broadway. The value of the five-year extension was put at $10,000 annually or $50,000 total.
New Agawam, which initially looked to keep the Freedom Green contract intact for just 18 more months, indicated in previous public statements if an arrangement had not been reached it was planning to ask for the contract to be removed entirely during its receivership proceedings.
Mr. Chapman termed the extension a net positive. He relayed to the council the city’s legal representative in the case had said “the contract may have been negated by the bankruptcy court anyway.”
“I think this is a very good result compared to where we were at when we first started negotiations. It’s a dramatic change,” Mr. Chapman added.
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