BECKLEY, W.Va. — A historic country club in southern West Virginia will see new life thanks to a decision Tuesday evening by the Beckley City Council.
The nearly 90 year-old Black Knight Country Club, most recently owned by Gov. Jim Justice, closed its doors in December of 2017. The property includes a clubhouse and restaurant, pool, tennis courts, 9-hole golf course and about 60 acres of land.
The City of Beckley expressed interest in buying the property almost immediately after the announcement. But first, an audit had to be completed of all buildings, equipment and infrastructure on site to ensure a purchase would be economically feasible.
“We have an obligation obviously to the city residents and taxpayers that we represent to be very responsible circumspect with city funds,” Beckley Mayor Rob Rappold said in a previous interview on MetroNews affiliate WJLS’s “Radio Roundtable”. “So we’re sure not going to embark on anything that doesn’t make good financial sense. The numbers have to be right.”
On Tuesday, the Beckley City Council held the second reading and a public hearing for the ordinance approving the Beckley Building Commission to purchase the facility for an amount not to exceed $3.5 million through lease revenue bonds. The ordinance passed 8-1 with no public comment.
“We’re really excited about it and the support has been overwhelming,” said Rappold following Tuesday’s meeting. “We have had a few detractors. At least in my office, the calls have been 75-80 percent positive about saving this iconic structure.”
The property will be added to the city’s list of public spaces including New River Park, Word Park and the Beckley Rail Trail.
“Our public works department is so talented. They have maintained the current New River Park Pool 15 years beyond its life expectancy, they can do the same thing at Black Knight. We have already booked a couple of reunions, we’ve had a number of inquiries about weddings so we’re really excited about it.”
Several plans are already in the works for the newly-acquired property.
“We’re going to contract with a very successful local caterer to run the food and beverage program. We have been talking with local golf course experts who will help us with fertilizing and weed control on the golf course.”