Review of City’s Golf Program Continues – Post Bulletin

ROCHESTER — Options for retaining, or potentially altering, four golf courses in the city are part of a review suggested following a recent operations report.

Rochester City Council will be asked to approve a scheduled assessment at its regular meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, which will be held online.

The National Golf Foundation’s recent assessment highlighted a less than ideal number of golfers using the city’s courses. The organization said 4,000 par 18 golfers is ideal and Rochester’s courses have 1,242 par 18 golfers.

While reducing the number of courses was cited as an option, the report also cited potential ways to attract more golfers to urban courses.

Options that should be considered in the ongoing assessment include:

  • Maintain existing courses and develop a strategy to fund a recommended amount of $722,500 per year for improvement projects and operational support.
  • Optimize the city’s golf system by modifying course operations, identifying future high-level uses for certain courses, and assessing the long-term financial impact associated with the courses.
  • Maintain existing courses with current funding levels and identify necessary service reductions over time.

The city plans to spend most of this year researching the issue and engaging with community members to gauge the merit of its future investment in golf or changes to the program.

If the continued study is approved by council, the city will maintain existing golf operations for 2022, but parks and recreation staff are reporting potential changes due to limited funding.

The city’s Park Board recently approved the transfer of golf pro William (Watty) Watson from Hadley Creek Golf Course to Soldiers Field Golf Course, due to the retirement of golf pro David Richardson.

Hadley Creek will be staffed with seasonal staff with program oversight experience until final decisions are made regarding the citywide program.

A report to council also raises concerns about the clubhouse at Eastwood Golf Course, which may have to close due to deterioration.

City staff had proposed to allocate $1.2 million of the City Parks Tax to a new clubhouse, but the funds were later directed to other park improvements.

In addition to the potential closure of the Eastwood clubhouse, the report says fee changes and adjustments to playable areas could be tweaked to avoid budget shortfalls this year.

A review process outlined last month said all major recommendations for the citywide golf program will be reviewed by the park board by the end of this year, with a final board decision. expected by January 15, 2023.

Meetings scheduled for the week of January 31 include:

Rochester

• Special meeting of the municipal council, 3:30 pm Wednesday. The online meeting will be broadcast live at www.rochestermn.gov/agendas and will be available on Spectrum cable channel 180 or 188 and Metronet channel 80.

• City Council, Monday 7 p.m. The online meeting will be streamed live at www.rochestermn.gov/agendas and will be available on Spectrum cable channel 180 or 188 and Metronet channel 80. The council will meet as the city’s economic development authority during the meeting.

• Airport Commission, 2 p.m. Tuesday. Access information is available at www.rochestermn.gov/agendas

• Energy Commission, 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. Access information is available at www.rochestermn.gov/agendas

• Planning and zoning commission, Wednesday 6 p.m. Access information is available at www.rochestermn.gov/agendas

• Pedestrians and Cyclists Advisory Committee, 6:30 pm Wednesday. Access information is available at www.rochestermn.gov/agendas

Olmsted County

• Human Services Advisory Council, Monday 7:00 am. Site or access information is available at https://olmstedcounty.primegov.com/public/portal

• Tri-government meeting with Rochester City Council and Rochester School Board, Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. Access information is available at https://olmstedcounty.primegov.com/public/portal

• Commission on Human Rights, Thursday at 6:00 pm in Conference Room 2 of the City-County Government Center.

• Olmsted County Zoning Adjustment Board, Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Board Rooms of the City and County Government Center.

Rochester Public Schools

• School Board, 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Edison Building Conference Room, 615 Seventh St. SW.

Ryan H. Bowman