DeKALB – DeKalb Park District Board Commissioner Dag Grada will chair the golf advisory committee, tasked with addressing funding shortfalls at River Heights and Buena Vista golf courses by Dec. 19.
The DeKalb Park District Board on Thursday voted unanimously to form the golf advisory committee, which Board President Phil Young said he hopes can begin meeting weekly as early as next week.
The committee, which will be co-chaired by Commissioner Gail Krmenec, also is charged with evaluating funding options for running both courses and expected to make recommendations to the board on staffing and management.
“The key thing is by Dec. 19, we need to get a report back from the committee to give us direction on what we should be doing next,” Young said during Thursday’s board meeting, significantly less well-attended than the past two golf-centric district meetings.
Young’s initial idea was to have Commissioner Dean Holliday chair the golf committee, as he is an avid golfer himself who golfs almost daily, Young said. Holliday is battling an illness, Young said, and will not be able to attend district meetings for some time.
Members of the public with an interest in the district’s golf operations are encouraged to sign up for the committee, and should contact Young at email@example.com.
The committee will operate as a subset of the board, with Grada and Krmenec as ex-officio members. Meetings will have to comply with the Open Meetings Act.
Young said the tight deadline is because of the upcoming fiscal 2021 budget season, which begins in March.
If the golf committee recommends staffing changes which will require hiring and training new members, or contracting with an outside agency for staffing the courses, those decisions will need to be factored into the budget, he said.
The committee was formed as a plan to address the district’s two golf courses, which are struggling financially.
Revenue at the 18-hole course River Heights, 1020 Sharon Drive, and Buena Vista, the district’s nine-hole course at 131 Buena Vista Drive, has steadily declined, and after adding in overhead maintenance costs, the Park District is losing money on golf operations. Golf operations bring in 9% of the district’s total revenue. For fiscal 2020, the golf fund is expected to be more than $65,000 in the red.
One of the recommendations made by Chicago-based golf consulting firm Billy Casper Golf included hiring a full-time manager for River Heights, or closing the course. The firm was paid $20,000 for their 102-page report.
The board announced Monday both courses will remain open through 2020, though changes need to be made operationally for them to remain open beyond that.