Cedar Point gets fresh start

Published 8:38 pm Monday, May 14, 2012

Cedar Point’s Cameron Robinett says the country club has been a constant throughout his life.

You can sense it in the relaxed swings on its peaceful fairways and in the new president’s purposeful handshake — a favorite North Suffolk social and recreational institution has shed its financial troubles and is looking to the future.

Cameron Robinett, who assumed the presidency of Cedar Point Country Club in August, says a group of members have “settled all of the debt, making it debt-free.”

Perched in a picturesque Crittenden setting at the confluence of the Nansemond and James rivers, the country club had racked up debts totaling $3.8 million, Robinett said.

Newsletter

Email newsletter signup

“Bankruptcy was a real possibility,” he added.

“The club got into some financial troubles and got to the point where (it) was carrying too much debt, and something needed to be done.

“A group of what eventually ended up being 112 members came in and settled all of the debt, making it debt-free.”

The fresh start has allowed Cedar Point to embark on a new membership structure, which no longer requires members to buy stock.

“Back in the good old days, if you wanted to join … you had to not only pay membership fees, you had to buy stock in the company as well,” Robinett said.

Being stockowners, members were liable at the end of each year for assessments and capital calls.

Depending on their level of membership, this meant an extra $2,000 to $6,000 a year, Robinett said.

“What the new model allows us to do that most country clubs can’t, we no longer require stock purchases,” he said.

“What we offer is one affordable initiation fee up front, and a membership plan that’s on an annual basis.”

Monthly fees range from $70 to $400 per month, he said. “That’s where a lot of country clubs are looking at going — providing assured expenses,” he added.

The country club also has a new chef, Suffolk native Harry Declet, who is in the midst of re-writing the menu.

Robinett says the new cook will be dishing up fresh, local seafood — things like crab and flounder — and traditional American grill “with some flair.”

“I’d say we’re going to be focusing on local, fresh seafood and in-house butchering of meats,” Robinett said.

Cedar Point’s financial turnaround is also allowing clubhouse renovations and upgrades to the pool and tennis facilities, complementing an extensive renovation of the golf course completed in 2003.

Under a new policy, the banquet hall is now available for hire by members of the general public.

“There’s a membership drive going on now that provides a discount to our prevailing dues,” Robinett said.

With his family heavily involved in the country club since his grandfather became one its the first members almost 50 years ago, Robinett says Cedar Point was his “daycare” while growing up.

“I certainly don’t want to see anything happen to it, and I want my kids to have the opportunity of being out here if and when they’re born,” he said.