|John Bryant of the Co-op: An offer has been made.|
Here’s an interesting proposition for those of you with even a casual interest in the future of the former Countryside Golf Course: The Roanoke Valley Natural Foods Co-op has tendered an offer to the city to buy 12 acres of the course in order to farm it.
Says John Bryant, marketing director of the Co-op, “The Co-op did make an offer for a 12 acre plot. We're hopeful that the city accepts the offer and we can begin farming the land as a off-shoot of our business. Until the city makes a decision I can't say much more about it, but I'll certainly let you know when we hear back.”
Countryside, of course, has been at the center of a political storm for years. City officials want to create tax revenue from the undeveloped land, homeowners want few if any changes to the course and most of the rest of us want something to be done with the large open expanse that will benefit the Valley most. My friend Tom Cain, in fact, sees the future of the course as a combination teaching farm, flood preventative and open space. I like that idea best.
From what I understand from a knowledgeable source, the city has tentatively approved the Co-op's plan but the final selection of who gets this property will not be announced until August 1 at the earliest. Co-op officials are confident in their proposal, I'm told. Under the plan, the Co-op would continue to work with all of the local growers it now works with, but would be able to offer customers produce that typically is not being grown by others, and a greenhouse would provide winter produce, as well.
A retail market is planned for the property as part of the Co-op's plan. No organic, local offerings exist in that area.
The next official step is for Valerie Garner to weigh in. Can't do anything with Countryside without a Val consultation.