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November 10, 2011 9:53 am

EDITORIAL: Golf course future hinges on community support

Written by Tessa Schweigert

Does Powell need a golf course?

Well, it depends on who you ask.

City councilmen said Monday that they’ve received mixed responses from the community. Some absolutely negative. Some assuredly positive. And many others somewhere in between.

Just as the community is split, so is the Powell City Council.

Councilmen initially voted 3-4 to defeat a motion to provide up to $50,000 in matching funds out of this year’s budget and $70,000 in next year’s budget. Citing concerns that the city has no way to know what its budget will be next year, Mayor Scott Mangold voted against the measure to break the 3-3 tie.

After a new motion eliminated the $70,000 for next year and proposed to only provide up to $50,000 in matching funds, the mayor switched his nay to an aye vote, as did Councilman Eric Paul.

After much discussion, the city of Powell will provide a dollar in additional funding for every dollar the golf club raises — up to $50,000.

So, the city only will provide funding if the community supports fundraising efforts. If the community comes through with $50,000, then the city’s equal match will provide a much-needed $100,000 for the struggling facility. However, if fundraising efforts fall flat, the city’s additional contribution will, too.

Basically, it all comes down to the financial support from individuals, businesses and organizations.

Both the council’s split votes and residents’ range of dialogue show this isn’t an easy issue. Yet this solution — a joint effort between the community and city — is a good way to raise money for the Powell Golf Club.

Fundraising efforts will serve as a litmus test to gauge the community’s interest and level of investment in a golf course.

This solution also allows golfers residing outside the city’s boundaries to show their support for the city-owned facility.

A citywide survey last year showed most respondents did not consider the golf course a top priority for special funding requests. However, that survey didn’t include Powell area residents who live out of town. During discussion last spring, Mayor Mangold estimated up to 60 percent of golfers who use the Powell course live outside the city.

This is an opportunity for those golfers and others who benefit from the facility — including the school district, Northwest College and other local organizations — to show their support. 

We believe a golf course plays a vital role in economic development for the Powell community. It’s an important recreational amenity that helps draw people to our town and keeps them here.

However, we also would like to see golfing become affordable for more residents so it’s truly a community-wide course. It’s also vital that the golf course becomes financially solvent, rather than struggling year after year to make ends meet while burdened by outstanding debt.

What will the future be for the Powell Golf Course?

The community must now answer that question.

2 comments

  • Comment Link November 10, 2011 2:31 pm posted by Disgusted taxpayer

    People in Powell need to start living within their means.If you want to play golf,or swim or any other deed,then YOU pay for it.The rest of us broke tax payers are tired of footing the bill for a few who think they are owed something in life.Leadership in Powell? HAHAHA.

  • Comment Link December 01, 2011 5:22 pm posted by Loyal Golfer and Tax Payer

    Well I believe that the big issue involving the issue of debt the Powell Golf Course deals with every year, is becuase of the rates. There is no reason whatsoever, to be paying for country club rates for a municipal course. So an estimated 60 percent of golfers live outside of the city? Ok the way to resolve that is to lower the rates ($500-$900) and I would almost gaurantee that the total number of members from last year will double. Which also means more cash flow through the course. See where im going with this? Thank you for letting me voice my opinion as a tax payer of the City of Powell.

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