BECKLEY, W.Va. — It has been one week since the announcement of the closure of the Black Knight Country Club and local leaders are still in disbelief.
The nearly 60-acre facility which included a 9-hole golf course, swimming pool, tennis courts and a clubhouse with a restaurant was ready to celebrate its 90th anniversary when it unexpectedly closed on December 28.
Beckley Councilwoman-at-Large Sherrie Hunter said the loss of the property leaves a void in the city’s history.
“When I think about the longevity of the country club, it just breaks my heart for the community. I understand dollars and everything but still yet after so many years and so many wonderful events throughout the years, it’s just a shock I think to everybody.”
The future of the property is uncertain, but Hunter hopes that based on its tradition somebody will come forward with an idea.
“Maybe it means so much to so many people that there will be those that will shake their heads and say, ‘wait, let’s find a way’. Maybe those people will be out there. It’s just a beautiful facility.”
Beckley Mayor Rob Rappold agrees with Hunter, adding that its location near the heart of the city allowed it to historically be a community staple.
A Google Maps search shows the club is only 1.6 miles from recently-moved WVU Tech, 2.2 miles from the growing Uptown Beckley district and around 3 miles from the busy I-64/I-77 interchange.
“It is practically right in the middle of downtown. Due to the dwindling size of the membership, I don’t think that was ever a huge economic blow. But yet, in terms of tradition and sentimentality it’s a real blow to the city.”
A previous MetroNews indicates now-Governor Jim Justice bought the property in 2011. It was reportedly already struggling at that point. As years went on, membership gradually continued to decline.
A note from property manager Byrd White III on December 28 announced the center was closed effective immediately and members with prepaid dues would be offered memberships at nearby Glade Springs in Beaver.
While concerned the property may continue to sit vacant, Mayor Rappold also said the city has offered assistance.
“We have reached out to management to talk about many ways the city could be involved or to help kind of keep things going.”
Governor Justice told The Register-Herald last week he is actively seeking potential buyers for the property.