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Golf advocates make their case to Rochester Park Board – Publish Bulletin

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ROCHESTER – Pleas for sustaining Rochester’s 4 metropolis golf programs blended with private tales related to the game Tuesday throughout a pair of public hearings associated potential adjustments to programs and an replace to the Troopers Discipline Park grasp plan.

“I believe Rochester public golf is likely one of the best issues in regards to the metropolis of Rochester,” Jeff Fritzjunker informed the Rochester Park Board as roughly 160 neighborhood members gathered on the Mayo Civic Middle. “It is one of many causes I’be lived right here for 34 years.”

He shared experiences associated to serving to coach younger golfers, in addition to a current outing at Troopers Discipline Golf Course, the place he met the husband of a Mayo Clinic affected person who had been on the town for per week after his 32-year-old spouse had a stroke.

“What he actually wanted was some respite, and by having an opportunity to stroll 4 blocks from his lodge to play a spherical of golf meant a lot to that man,” Fritzjunker mentioned.

He was adopted by a mixture of twenty-two others, lots of whom shared discovering neighborhood connection and wholesome retailers on metropolis golf programs.

The golf advocates amongst them additionally pointed to systemwide income of $ 1.74 million in 2021 as an indicator of accelerating recognition of the game in a rising metropolis.

Rochester golfer Jeff Meyer mentioned traits present youthful golfers are participating within the sport, which factors to the necessity for house for present and future gamers.

“With the rise in recognition, Rochester can be seen as transferring backwards reasonably than forwards in what state and nationwide traits are exhibiting,” he mentioned.

Nevertheless, not everybody attending Tuesday’s hearings agreed that the town’s parkland was greatest utilized by 4 programs, particularly with regards to Troopers Discipline Park.

“ how the town is projected to develop and being a part of that progress myself, I do surprise which voices are being overrepresented and underrepresented in these discussions to date,” mentioned Nick Miller, who lives in a neighborhood close to Troopers Discipline Park.

He mentioned he believes many individuals interested in residing close to downtown Rochester would like opening the greenspace to different makes use of, which has been instructed as a long-term plan for the park.

Tuesday’s hearings have been a part of a Rochester Park Board course of designed to listen to the number of opinions associated to golf and potential makes use of for property at present devoted to the game.

The Rochester Metropolis Council tasked the board, together with Parks and Recreation employees, to have a look at choices for the city-run golf with three doable outcomes:

  • Sustaining 4 programs with a supply of $ 722,500 in added annual income
  • Optimizing this system with the potential to reposition one of many programs for one more use
  • Sustaining the present programs with out added funding

Deputy Metropolis Administrator Aaron Parrish mentioned sustaining the programs with out new funding can be deciding to neglect a metropolis useful resource.
“We have now to be good stewards of this asset, if we’re going to keep one course, two programs, three programs or 4 programs,” he mentioned, pointing to a few choices that might hold all 4 programs in play.

Whereas a current Nationwide Golf Federation report said $ 722,500 in new annual funding can be wanted to keep up and function the 4 course, Parrish mentioned metropolis employees believes the quantity is nearer to $ 500,000.

He mentioned the funds might be generated 3 ways: via a 0.58% enhance to the town’s property tax levy, a $ 5.20 enhance in charges per spherical of golf or a mixture of tax and payment will increase.

A number of of the golfers who spoke Tuesday mentioned they’d be prepared to pitch in, whether or not via elevated taxes or charges.

“We have now underpaid to play golf for years,” mentioned Mark Rieder.

Larry Mortenson, a former park board president and avid golfer, mentioned proposed will increase to season passes over a five-year interval would ultimately present an additional $ 350,000 for the town’s golf program.

Mortenson was a part of a seven-member group of golfers that ready an analysis of the Nationwide Golf Federation examine as a part of Tuesday’s presentation earlier than the general public listening to.

He mentioned the group agreed with the inspiration that day by day inexperienced charges are on the right track, however the price of seasonal passes is simply too low.

He mentioned a typical grownup season move prices $ 795 in Rochester, whereas a golfer in St. Paul pays $ 1,050 for comparable entry to that metropolis’s programs. A season move for Minneapolis programs is $ 1,600, he added.

Along with proposing growing the seasonal charges, Mortenson mentioned the group believes a number of the enhancements instructed by the Nationwide Golf Basis are unneeded.

He mentioned key enhancements – fixing entrance street and parking zone at Northern Hills Golf Course, repairing the upkeep constructing at Northern Hills, changing the Eastwood Golf Course clubhouse and finishing an irrigation system at Troopers Discipline – would value the town $ 2.5 million, reasonably than the $ 3.6 million the inspiration instructed spending.

“Some reprioritization needs to be accomplished among the many many (capital enchancment tasks) inside Parks and Rec, so no extra {dollars} from taxpayers are wanted to finish these golf tasks,” he mentioned, pointing to annual funding the division receives for upkeep and upgrades all through the park system.

Rochester Parks and Recreation Director Paul Widman speaks Tuesday, Sept. 20, 20222, to the Rochester Park Board and metropolis residents previous to public hearings held in Mayo Civic Middle.

Randy Petersen / Publish Bulletin

Park and Recreation Director Paul Widman mentioned the knowledge gathered Tuesday shall be mixed with enter being sought via a collection of open-house occasions on the metropolis’s 4 golf programs, which begin Wednesday. The occasions are:

  • 10 am to midday Sept. 21 at Northern Hills Golf Course, 4721 W Circle Drive.
  • 2 pm to 4 pm Sept. 22 at Eastwood Golf Course, 3505 Eastwood Street SE
  • 8 am to 10 am Sept. 23 at Troopers Discipline Memorial Golf Course, 244 Troopers Discipline Drive SE
  • 4 pm to six pm Sept. 28 at Hadley Creek Golf Course, 2390 Hadley Hills Drive NE

Moreover, the town is conducting a scientific ballot associated to golf, with 500 random Rochester residents being polled within the upcoming weeks.
A second on-line survey, permitting any residents to take part, shall be performed in October.

Jenna Bowman, the town’s strategic communications and engagement director, mentioned the knowledge gathered shall be offered to the Park Board throughout its Nov. 1 assembly, with the expectation that the board will make a suggestion to be taken to the Rochester Metropolis Council on Nov. 21.

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