MILLINOCKET, Maine — It took almost four years, lots of fundraising and some smart management, but the approximately 125 paying members of the Hillcrest Golf Club have paid the club’s $150,000 debt, the club’s president said Wednesday.
The club delivered its final loan payment, $11,927.96, to the town on Sept. 8. That completed the payment schedule for the $42,000 Millinocket Revolving Loan Fund about two years ahead of time, Town Manager Eugene Conlogue said.
“We scratched everywhere we could to get the money,” club President Kitty St. John said Wednesday.
“We owe a lot of thanks to our members for everything they did to help us pay it all off,” St. John added. “We are all very excited about it. Now we have to move forward with making improvements on [the course] without having to worry about losing it.”
Club members and area residents are invited to celebrate the feat at a mortgage-burning party at Hillcrest, 59 Grove St., at 4:30 p.m. Friday.
The club raised about $86,000 while paying off another $64,000 with house and garden shows, spaghetti and chicken potpie suppers held twice a month, memorial contributions that totaled about $6,000, and by managing the nine-hole golf course well, St. John said.
Desiring to keep the Katahdin region’s sole golf course alive, club members banded together and bought the course from the Katahdin Federal Credit Union for $150,000 in December 2005. Club members had been working since that summer to raise money for the purchase.
Besides sponsoring the $64,000 Community Development Block Grant loan, the town helped the purchase when the Town Council voted a $25,000 gift from the town’s Undesignated Fund Balance in late August 2005.
Conlogue and Jen Olsen, business coordinator for the Katahdin Area Chamber of Commerce, praised the club’s members for their diligence.
“It shows the dedication of Kitty St. John and the club itself to make that club financially sustaining in a short period of time,” Conlogue said. “They certainly have been very active over there trying to raise money in different ways. For them to do this is a great credit to the entire organization.”
“I am so proud that they did it in such a short time,” Olsen said. “That doesn’t always happen. With the best of intentions and a bunch of volunteers, you don’t always see that kind of success.”
Having a golf course in the Katahdin region helps make the area a better place to live, Olsen said.
Club members will meet on Oct. 16 to budget for next year and possibly plan course improvements, St. John said.