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City Council Moves Ahead With Plans For City Golf Course

By Staff | Aug 28, 2008

Emmetsburg City Council is moving ahead with plans for the city golf course.

Mayor John Schad, in his report to the council Monday, Aug. 25, pointed out that there is still confusion in the community over the purpose and motivation of the city to purchase the club house and surrounding property of the old country club.

“Citizens comments range from ‘If you can buy a golf course why can’t you fix the streets?’ to ‘It looks like the city bailed out the old country club once again by buying it back at an even higher price.’

“I would like the council to go on record at this public meeting that the purpose of making the purchase was to protect the property, keep it in the public domain, and then look at possible public uses, including golf and other activities,” Schad told the council.

To emphasize the direction the city wants to go with the property, Schad strongly urged the council to involve The Storm in the decision making process.

The Interim Golf Course & Facilities Board recommended advertising for a golf superintendent.

“The Wild Rose is walking away from the golf course with no fall maintenance work done on the course,” Councilman Pat Degen told the council. The maintenance he was concerned with includes fertilizing, work on the greens and the irrigation system.

“If we decide to keep the club house open for Christmas parties, the superintendent would be responsible,” Degen added.

City Administrator John Bird added, “Things have to be done if the club house is kept open for the holidays, like liquor license application and dram shop insurance.

No decision was made whether or not the club house would be kept open for holiday parties. However, the council voted to advertise for a golf course superintendent.

Councilman Steve Finer, chairman of the interim golf course committee, noted, “It would be a very bad business decision to lock the doors before the holidays.

“That would be an opportunity to get the public excited about this new public facility,” added Bird.

“We’ve got a committee to address these issues, so we need to let them come back (to the council) with a recommendation,” said Degen.

Mayor Schad told the council he had visited with a golf expert who recommended leasing the course into private hands. Schad presented a chart of municipal revenue compared with private operation of several California golf courses. He encouraged council members to review the information.

In other business, City Council members approved the low bid from Beck Excavating, Spirit Lake, to complete drainage repairs and improvements along Ontario Street and Duffy Street. The low bid of $81,128.50 from Beck Excavating was over $10,000 higher than the engineer’s estimate of $70,581. The project will be completed this fall.

Council members approved the bid of $138,974.95 from Fox Brothers/Elliott Equipment for a new solid waste truck. The bid cost for a 7400 chassis is $68,300 and the New Way COBRA is $70,674.95. According to Public Works Director Bill Dickey, New Way is an Iowa company. Dickey told the council that there are two entities interested in purchasing the city’s ten-year-old solid waste truck.