DeBell Golf Club

Owners of the Clubhouse Grill at the DeBell Golf Club have announced they won't be renewing their contract. (Times Community News / February 19, 2013)

The owners of the Clubhouse Grill at the DeBell Golf Club have announced they won’t be renewing their contract, and the restaurant will close at the end of the year.

City officials called the development “unfortunate” given that they were just beginning to hash out a shift in the club’s management structure.

But that shift — which will put the club’s director of golf, Scott Scozzola, in charge with the city being less involved — is what prompted the Luceros to change course.

“We don’t think it would work,” said Shelly Lucero, who with her husband, Ray, has operating the grill for 15 years. “We thought it’s time to move on.”

The city is still negotiating a contract with Scozzola to take over operations, which would relieve city officials of day-to-day management responsibilities, which currently range from approving marketing materials and managing capital projects to processing payments and handling complaints.

While Lucero agrees with a more streamlined management structure, “it needs to be the right person” running things, she said.

Apparently, though, the city thinks Scozzola is that man.

The city currently has three major contracts with separate club entities — the restaurant, course maintenance operations and golf operations — and two smaller ones with the custodial staff and golf cart company.

Consolidating the contracts would reduce the city’s use of staff resources to oversee each department, leaving Scozzola in charge.

“With the changes, we’ll be able to provide the city with cost savings in the long term and…provide some more continuity between all of the operations,” Scozzola said.

City officials said a more collaborative dynamic would bring the club more success.

“If they were working together, there would be more opportunity for the entire operation to do better,” Park, Recreation and Community Services Director Judie Wilke said. “I don’t think it was anybody not doing a good job, I just don’t think there was a real goal to have them work together.”

For example, she said, gift cards purchased at the golf shop can’t be used at the restaurant, and vice versa.

“It makes sense to market the facility as an entire facility,” Wilke said.

Officials anticipate the management change will go into effect next January, after the Luceros’ contract expires in December.

Scozzola will likely choose a new vendor to replace the Clubhouse Grill, which will fall to the City Council for final approval, Wilke said.

-- Alene Tchekmedyian, Times Community News

Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.