Healdsburg may hire private operator for Villa

  • Healdsburg's city-owned Villa Chanticleer. (Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat)

Healdsburg’s storied Villa Chanticleer is on the verge of being privatized in an attempt to end years of losses incurred by the city.

The City Council at 6 p.m. Monday is scheduled to consider leasing it to an outside operator to manage events and still offer preferred pricing for residents and local nonprofit groups.

The Villa has been run by the city for more than a half-century, but losses averaging $100,000 annually in recent years prompted a search for a private entity to take it over.

Tayman Park Golf Group, the same company that has managed the city’s golf course for 15 years, has applied to take over the hillside facility and is being recommended for approval by city staff.

The company also operates publicly-owned golf courses and clubhouses in Ukiah, San Rafael and at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.

“It’s exciting for us to work with a private company to maximize revenue while still providing a great service to our community,” Assistant City Manager David Mickaelian said Friday.

“I think it’s really positive for the city and really positive for the Villa,” said Mayor Jim Wood. “It’s such an important part of the community.”

Located near the top of Fitch Mountain, the Villa Chanticleer has been the venue for school proms and celebrations, fundraisers, marriages and memorials.

The 6,000-square-foot facility was established as an exclusive French family resort until it was taken over by gamblers in the 1940s. After sitting empty for years, the city acquired it in the late 1950s for use as a community center and park.

Healdsburg previously was able to subsidize Villa Chanticleer with redevelopment money, but the state did away with those programs in 2012.

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