By the end of next month, Blue Ridge Country Club in Palmerton will be owned by a local bank.
In a letter released to the club's golf and social members Tuesday afternoon, the club's executive committee announced that the "deed in lieu" has been signed, and as of Nov. 30, the bank will own the property.
The letter states, "It's been about seven weeks since we informed you that the club could no longer sustain our financial obligations with the current number of golfing members."
"There are several groups/businesses who have expressed an interest in purchasing the club. There have been numerous rumors circulating about this process. However, to date, most of these rumors are not factual, and only serve to be detrimental to the club. We have heard rumors of eight or more interested buyers, but do not know how many have actually spoken with the bank. We were informed that one prospective buyer presented an offer which the bank rejected. There will be ongoing discussions and negotiations between the bank and interested parties.
We look forward to the day when there is a buyer who presents an offer acceptable to the bank. At that time, we will communicate all that we can about the successful purchase. The new owner will be anxious to communicate to the current membership their plans for the club, the 2014 dues structure, personnel who will run the club and all other pertinent information so we can make our plans for 2014 membership.
In the mean time, the course is in terrific condition, the fall foliage is beautiful, there will be a number of bright sunny days, there are two great social events (Oct. 26 an Nov. 9), and great food in the restaurant. Enjoy the time we have and look forward to a new beginning."
Last month, club manager John Rehus said that the member-owned club does not plan to shut its doors any time soon, despite rumors to the contrary.
Rehus said at that time that the club plans to celebrate its 100th birthday in two years, and that it plans to remain in operation for many years to come. He said at that time the club's plans for the future include building the membership base, increasing the restaurant and banquet business, increasing rounds played, making facility improvements (wedding gazebo, driving range), and most of all, hosting its 100th anniversary party.
Blue Ridge Country Club was founded by the New Jersey Zinc Company in 1915, and was a nine-hole golf course until 1990. After building nine additional holes, Blue Ridge became well known for its challenging layout and course conditions. In 2003, a new $2.5 million clubhouse was constructed overlooking the golf course and the Blue Ridge mountainside.
Blue Ridge officials did not return calls in time for today's publication.