CAMBRIDGE TOWNSHIP — Heading into its 106th season, Riverside Golf Course is finding itself under new ownership after a purchase by four area men.
The course was bought by Darin Foltz, James Loehrke, Zachary Hale and Jeremy Ball for an undisclosed sum in a deal which is expected to be completed today, according to Ball.
Foltz is a graduate of Cambridge Springs High School and Edinboro University, though he currently lives in Kansas City; Loehrke lives in Edinboro and owns Green Prosthetics and Orthotics; Hale lives and grew up in Cambridge Springs and is currently a high school math and business teacher; and Ball is a Cambridge Springs High School graduate and former manager of the Riverside Inn and Riverside Brewery.
Ball said the idea of purchasing the golf course started with Foltz, who was searching for a business project to be done in the town he grew up in. Loehrke has partnered with Foltz on a property venture in Edinboro for the past several years, while Ball knew Foltz from high school and Hale is Foltz's brother-in-law.
Foltz said the approached the current owner, Linda Christiansen, back in April about the sale. Coming up with a sales agreement took about three months after than initial meeting, during which time he got the interest of the other three men, as well as backing from Northwest Savings Bank.
"With a deal like this, it's not something you can do overnight," Foltz said.
Foltz will take on the role of CEO, while Loehrke is becoming the CFO. Hale will be a member of the leadership team with a focus on the golfing end of things, while Ball is taking on the position of general manager. The team will be retaining the course's current superintendent, Michael Bochert, who was hired last season.
Foltz has prior business experience. He is the owner of DTF Enterprises, a company which is involved with stadium concessions for the Kansas City Royals baseball team and Kansas City Chiefs football team.
The four's plan is to return the course to its "former glory days" of the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, according to Ball. As such, a number of renovations and update to the course are being planned. Chief among these is a new restaurant, The Rambler, named in honor of the "famed hobo" Leon Ray Livingston, who lived in Cambridge Springs.
Meanwhile, the course's former banquet facility is being renovated into the Kelly Ballroom, which will be used as a rental space for weddings, parties or conferences. The ballroom is named in honor of the former Hotel Kelly, which once sat on the spot where the course is now.
"My mindset of owning this is that it's going to be an entertainment complex and it's not just a golf course," Foltz said.
The course will also have 40 golf carts added to its fleet, and Ball said the new leadership team is working on having a phone app developed which will allow people to check in to the course or order food with their phones.
Other planned renovations include a repainting of the exterior facade, a new roof and new signage.
The renovations are planned to be completed in May. Foltz said golfing at the course will open up on April 1, while the restaurants opening will occur in the first or second week of May.
Sean P. Ray can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at email@example.com.