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Editorials

Our View: Thumbs-down to uncertain future of DeKalb Park Dist. golf

Members of the audience applaud a speaker who came out in support the River Heights Golf Course Thursday during the DeKalb Park District board meeting at the Ellwood House Visitor Center. One of the items discussed during the meeting was the sustainability of the River Heights Golf Course.
Members of the audience applaud a speaker who came out in support the River Heights Golf Course Thursday during the DeKalb Park District board meeting at the Ellwood House Visitor Center. One of the items discussed during the meeting was the sustainability of the River Heights Golf Course.

Thumbs-down: To the uncertain future of the DeKalb Park District’s golf programs. There were about 100 people at the park board meeting Thursday, most there to show their support for maintaining the park district’s golf courses, the 18-hole River Heights and nine-hole Buena Vista. A lot of people, us included, would be disappointed if River Heights were to close. However, a consultant who reviewed its books says the number of rounds played there would have to increase by two-thirds to make it profitable. Park officials must decide if the course can be marketed, staffed or otherwise changed to make it viable – and decide who will do that. There should also be financial goals the program must meet. The park district can’t afford to subsidize a venture that loses tens of thousands of dollars or more each year.

Thumbs-up: Speaking of golf, here’s to the DeKalb boys golf team, who qualified for state for the first time since 1982 on Monday by winning the sectional tournament. Jack Paeglow was the winner of the overall sectional title in the tournament held at the Barbs’ home course at Kishwaukee Country Club. Good luck to the boys – and to girls golfer Allison Yohanon – at the final day of the state tournaments today.

Thumbs-up: To continued cooperation in the effort to land a major employer. This week, the DeKalb County Board unanimously authorized DeKalb’s City Manager Bill Nicklas to negotiate a property tax rebate agreement on their behalf with a couple of companies considering sites in DeKalb. The city’s work on the project has been known to the public for weeks, and Nicklas has been asking for local governments’ help on incentive agreements. The county board agreed on a property tax rebate of up to 50% for up to 20 years with the unidentified companies, and took the rare step of authorizing a city employee to negotiate it on their behalf. These two projects combined could roughly equal the value of the five largest industrial buildings in DeKalb. That, combined with the economic benefits of creating as many as 1,200 jobs, make it a good deal for the area. It’s clear local governments are working together on this project. We hope they succeed.

Thumbs-down: To a tough year for farmers. This growing season is ending the way it began – with too much rain. After spring rains made planting some area fields impossible or unprofitable, a sodden September has made it difficult to harvest those crops that were planted, with at least one farmer reporting his combine got stuck in the mud. September saw 9.5 inches of rainfall – making it the fifth-wettest since 1895 – and yields are expected to be down for many farmers. Hopefully the rain goes away for a few weeks, and farmers can harvest their crops before the snow flies.

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