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Meshingomesia under new ownership

BY Spencer Durham - sdurham@chronicle-tribune.com

With new owners will come a facelift for Meshingomesia Golf & Social Club.

The golf course and country club are now in the hands of the Riddle family, who own TJR Equipment in Marion. Tommy and Jeanna Riddle, along with their sons, are aiming to bring more of a family atmosphere to Meshingomesia.

In order to do so, the country club is undergoing renovations that will continue into 2019.

Renovations began in August when the purchase was completed. Some have been minor, such as trimming trees around the course, painting the exterior of the club house and manicuring sidewalks and pathways, according to Julie Harmon, general manager for Meshingomesia.

Some interior work has also been done on pipes and ceiling tiles too, but more significant renovations will take place during the country club’s “hard close” from Dec. 24 to Feb. 23. There will be no business during this time.

“There’s already been a lot of ground work but when we do the hard close … is when we’re really going to focus on the big renovations,” Harmon said.

Renovations will include a brand new roof, bathrooms, replacing some flooring and gutting the upstairs to create bridal suite. Fixing ceiling tiles, painting and wallpapering will also take place during the hard close.

Harmon said some of the renovations will be apparent to customers, such as the bathrooms, while others, like pipe work, will go unnoticed.

While the fixes are certainly needed, Harmon said they will preserve the integrity of Meshingomesia.

“We’re not trying to change the way it looks,” she said. “We’re trying to take the beauty that it has, fix the problems that time has created and enhance what’s already here.”

Harmon said the reopen date is non-negotiable so some renovations must be completed by Feb. 23, such as the roof, while others can wait until later in the spring.

Building off the family-friendly emphasis, the pool work will take place during spring time with an opening date of Memorial Day.

“This is a beautiful golf course, and with the pool, it can be a place where families can come,” Harmon said.

According to Justin Riddle, the middle son of Tommy and Jeanna, the idea to purchase the golf course just sort of happened, and happened quickly.

“It wasn’t something we were particularly looking to get into,” he said. “It’s far from anything else we are involved in, but it’s more of a investment in the community than it is something to boost our business portfolio. … The conversation took about 30 minutes.”

Riddle said his family has a number of different businesses, many of which deal with servicing the wire cable industry. Management of steel cable reels, transportation, logistics, fabrication and distribution are just some of the aspects of the Riddle family businesses.

The family atmosphere goal is something the Riddle family considers important to themselves, as well as the greater community, according to Justin Riddle.

Harmon expounded on that idea and said a strong golf course and country club can be a selling point for local businesses.

“Anytime an employer or business is trying to pull in a new employee, that particular person would want to know what does this town have to offer for them,” she said. “... Having a country club helps business, it helps the community.”

Justin Riddle said he and his brothers are performing a lot of the work and have accomplished quite a bit ahead of the shut down.

“We’re going to have a pretty nice facelift to go with the reopen,” he said.