By CHRIS EBERHART
Lake Isle’s ongoing facelift from a town-owned country club to a state-of-the-art facility continues with the addition of a new caterer.
Eastchester Town Supervisor Anthony Colavita, a Republican, announced the town has hired Eastchester Events, Inc., a newly-formed collection of caterers whose first step as a business was taking over the catering hall at Lake Isle Country Club, 660 White Plains Road, for the next 10 years.
The Eastchester Town Council approved the contract at its Feb. 11 meeting, by a 4 to 1 vote. Councilman Glenn Bellitto, a Republican, was the lone opposition to the contract.
With the approval, Eastchester Events will succeed Carf Caterers, which operated the catering hall for more than 20 years, after its lease with the town ended in December 2013.
Colavita said the town chose to move in another direction and put a contract for the catering hall out to bid because “it’s the best method in ensuring the town brings in a responsible caterer.”
Councilman Fred Salan-itro, a Republican, said Carf Caterers had a chance to bid during the RFP process but chose not to.
Colavita said the goal is to be up and operational with Eastchester Events by fall 2014.
Councilman Joe Dooley, a Republican, said, “We spent a lot of time on this, but I think people are going to see down the road that we’re going to raise the bar at what goes on at Lake Isle from a catering standpoint. I really think people are going to be pleased once this is up and fully operational.”
The new agreement will create another Lake Isle revenue stream for Eastchester in addition to the revenue already generated by the Sportime tennis bubble, a project put into place at the club in 2012, that has yielded roughly $300,000 in revenue in its inaugural season.
Colavita said Eastchester Events will pay $72,000 to the town for the first year, along with 7 percent of the caterer’s gross receipts to operate the catering hall. The $72,000 payment jumps to a $324,000 annual payment for each of the ensuing nine years, along with 5 percent of the caterer’s gross receipts.
Colavita said the town laid out $5,200, which will be reimbursed by Eastchester Events, for an architectural floor plan.
Eastchester Events will foot the bill for a $1.5 million renovation project to the existing catering hall.
In addition to the hall, Eastchester Events will also operate Lake Isle’s restaurant and snack bar.
Councilman Bellitto said, he felt the town would be better off running the catering hall on its own. Bellitto did not further explain his vote and attempts to reach him were unsuccessful, as of press time.
The selection process, Colavita said, spanned months with an original request for proposals sent out in July 2013.
In total, 12 companies responded to the request.
Colavita said those 12 companies were cut to a final two, after which the decision became difficult.
Salanitro said, “It came down to a crunching of the numbers. This deal with Eastchester Events, Inc., is the higher bid. It provides more in terms of what they’ll be providing and the renovations.”
Salanitro said Eastchester Events agreed to take over the garbage removal at the Lake Isle catering facility, which the town previously had covered. Colavita added the new caterer also agreed to pay part of the facility’s Con Edison bill. The town will continue with snow removal from the property.
“This is all part of the grand vision of the renovation plan to get revenue and keep costs down at Lake Isle,” Colavita said.
The grand vision began in 2012, when the town privatized golf course maintenance and launched Lake Isle’s first indoor tennis program using the recently-built Sportime tennis bubble, which Councilman Luigi Marcoccia, a Republican, said was a one-year deal that is currently in the process of being extended.
In addition to the new catering contract, Marcoccia said a second 2014 improvement to Lake Isle will be an irrigation system for the golf course, which he said is “long overdue” and is expected to be developed and operational by the next golf season, which begins around April 1.
Beyond 2014, Colavita said he’s looking to create an indoor pool to have year-round swimming to compliment the new catering hall and year-round tennis.
By the time Lake Isle Country Club finishes its face-lift, Colavita said, “We’re going to have the best municipally-owned country club in the country.”