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You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 10/24/12
Wolcott Mill Golf Course
could be contracted out
by CHRIS GRAYThe Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority (HCMA) is seeking to turn over the Wolcott Mill Golf Course operations to save on costs.
Observer Staff Writer
A request for proposal (RFP) sent out by the authority asked companies to take over the operations of the golf course for eight years with an option for two four-year extensions. The operations includes food and sundry services.
Denise Semion, chief of communications, said reports have shown that Huron-Clinton Metroparks has consistently been losing money for eight years on the course.
Reports show the course made $300,778 in 2011, down by nearly $65,000 from the previous year. In 2009, the course brought in $372,483.
"Our board has been discussing this and has been looking for some time at the operations to see if it's a better use of our resources to have it contracted out rather than using our resources," Semion said.
On Sept. 13, the HMCA awarded the bid to Stony Creek Golf Management, which has run the Stony Creek Bartsch Golf Course for 30 years. The option, which totals $352,000, includes a $2,000 per month lease of all equipment and for management fees to be paid to the HCMA at $20,000 a year.
A recommendation from Maria van Rooijen, buyer with HCMA, determined this option provided minimal risk and more upfront income than other options presented.
As of Oct. 11, Semion said nothing has been finalized with the agreement. The HCMA is currently awaiting a personal bond or guarantee from Stony Creek Golf Management before the process moves forward.
The 6,266-yard course has been owned by the HCMA since 1998. All bidders looking to manage the course were given revenue and expenditure statements from 1999 to the present, which included current charges, utilities, fees and usage.
Huron-Clinton Metroparks operates eight golf courses in the five county region. Semion said of them, the Wolcott course is the only one to fail at being productive.
"This year we might actually break even," she said. "We need to determine what's the best use of taxpayer dollars."
Semion said no indications have been made about whether or not the current staff will remain at the course.
Gary Hopp, park operations manager for Stony Creek and Wolcott Mills Metroparks, agreed that the economic situation has caused business to decline at the course.
"Golf rounds have been dropping due to the economy," he said.
Attendance was down by more than 3,000 in 2011 compared to the past two years, though weather played a role. The Huron-Clinton Metroparks 2011 report indicated cold and rainy weather caused the golf course to be closed for 18 full days and 30 partial days.
The current rate for 18 holes is $26 on weekends and holidays and $16 for nine holes. The rates are $22 and $13, respectively, on the weekdays.