Rochester Park Board approves plan to cover cost of municipal golf courses – ABC 6 News
(ABC 6 News) – The city of Rochester recently decided to keep its four municipal golf courses, including Soldier’s Field, if it could come up with a plan to cover the costs.
On Tuesday evening, the Rochester Park and Recreation Board got a first look at the plan and the results of a community survey.
The park board approved the plan by a 4 to 1 vote.
Most golfers at the Soldier’s Field golf courses said they had no problem with the city increasing golf prices, they just didn’t want any changes to the courses.
“For us golfers, this is going to reduce the number of golfers, which reduces the revenue generated from golf courses,” said golfer Dave Rodenwald.
Rodenwald said he golfs most days of the week, mostly at Hadley Creek Golf Course in Rochester.
“For me, it’s not a problem. But for someone who only goes twice a week, it’s going to be stiff,” he said.
Proposed price increases approved by the park board on Tuesday night include a fee increase over the next two years, with the regular season pass rising from the current $795 price to around $1,300 in 2027.
Daily rates would also drop from $32 to just over $37 by 2027.
“I probably play 120 rounds a year,” said golfer Mike Terwisscha. “Yes, I get what I pay for and I do my exercise.”
Terwisscha lived in the Twin Cities and said season tickets were much more expensive there. According to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, a season pass for 2022 costs around $1,300. That’s comparable to what Rochester recommends now.
But a possible sticking point is the $250,000 in taxes the city wants to use to maintain the courses on top of the $250,000 in revenue generated from the golf fee hike mentioned earlier.
“I think the city should be willing to put a little extra money into golf courses,” Rodenwald said.
A survey of 400 random households in Rochester was recently completed. These results show that 70% of people are in favor of increasing taxes to maintain city services. 51% of respondents said they were in favor of increasing taxes to improve or strengthen municipal services, 37% of those opposed.
“And a little raise to help cover some things wouldn’t hurt,” Terwisscha said.
Although the park board has approved this plan, the Rochester City Council has yet to give final approval.
The park’s board has also approved as part of this plan that it will suspend the annual early bird special from January 1, 2023, allowing golfers to purchase the annual pass from the next golf season at the current season rate.