Golf clubhouse goes from gem to eyesore
Surrounded by ankle-deep grass, tagged with gang graffiti and littered with trash, the boarded up clubhouse of the former Clear Lake Golf Club has seen far better days.
The blighted building at 16223 Diana Lane in Clear Lake City's Oakbrook subdivision closed along with the golf course in 2005 and since then has become a haven for vandals, drug dealers and vagrants, local officials say. The clubhouse has had at least two fires, one just a couple of weeks ago.
It's become a problem," Houston City Councilman Mike Sullivan said. I would like to see the building demolished."
To that end, Sullivan and police recently met with unhappy residents of nearby homes and apartments, along with Leslie Alvarez, general manager of the Clear Lake City Community Association. The councilman said they decided to report every possible violation to the city's police department and Neighbor Protection Corps, which enforces city ordinances related to dangerous buildings and nuisance properties.
Sullivan hopes to document enough violations that the city orders the clubhouse's demolition.
Alvarez said the property attracts "undesirables and criminal activity" just down the street from a public library and the Clear Lake City Recreation Center. Many residents can't believe what's happened to a former gem of the Clear Lake area, she said.
It seems to me that more and more things are happening in Clear Lake that no one imagined would happen in Clear Lake," she said.
Last week a door on the clubhouse's east side flapped open in the wind near pieces of fallen roofing and piles of broken glass, exposing red graffiti inside. A west-side gate to the golf-cart area was also open, and entry was also possible on the south side.
The clubhouse's driveway entrance was littered with fast-food wrappers, black bags of garbage and even a urine-filled water bottle. Nearby was a mattress and part of a car bumper.
The idle golf course property that includes the clubhouse is the subject of a lawsuit and has long been a hot-button issue among Clear Lake residents. The property owner, Renaissance Golf Group, wants to sell the land to developers, but it's been stymied by the Clear Lake City Water Authority, which wants to use eminent domain proceedings to acquire the land for flood control, and by the original developer, ExxonMobil Development Co., which has refused to lift deed restrictions limiting the land to recreational use until 2021.
The lawsuit, closely watched by residents who don't want developers to get hold of the old golf course property, is awaiting a decision by Judge Dan Hinde of the 269th District Court.
As the lawsuit drags on, Alvarez says she calls a Renaissance representative when the clubhouse has been broken into by youths and homeless people so the company can have it boarded up again, but a reporter's calls this week have not been returned.
Jon Doerrie who lives just across the street from the clubhouse, said the deteriorating building is unacceptable for the Clear Lake area.
Something needs to be done," said Doerrie, 35, who is self-employed. There's a little bit of concern with it being so close and not knowing what's going on there from day-to-day."
But the clubhouse doesn't concern everyone in the area. Newly elected Oakbrook subdivision representative Hugh Joslin said he was unaware of the clubhouse's condition and does not particularly" care.
It's not on my radar screen," Joslin said.
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