The Rockford Park District is facing another financial battle. Leaders are hoping community meetings will help find answers to ensure a positive future for golf in Rockford with all options on the table, and open to financing ideas.
Hitting the links. Golfers at Sinnissippi Golf Course spent their Wednesday on the green. This comes just hours before a community meeting with the Rockford Park District.
“We’re going to be asking them to commit to help to try and bring more revenues for the golf department,” said Rockford Park District Jay Sandine, “Anyway to reduce our expenses, anyway to get involved.”
The RPD faces financial uncertainty. After the Board of Commissions voted to slash $1 million dollars from the 2018 budget. Sandine says they’re 160,000 rounds down. “There is a saturation of golf courses in our market and there are not enough golfers to fill all [of] those facilities.”
Possible options to remedy costs are fee increases, or program sponsorships.
“If they raise the prices they could,” said Golfer Bill Paulson. “It’s one of the most reasonable courses in the area.”
“We really need that support and involvement if not we have some difficult decisions to make that might negatively impact the future of our golf courses,” said Sandine. “We used to profit, now were subsidized and its a big swing financially. It’s not just our operating subsidy, it’s our aging infrastructure.” Which is another expense, that’s leaves $7 million in deferred maintenance needs at the Districts’ five courses.
Avid and longtime friends and golfers Nancy Parinello and Lynn McConville say they’ve grown up playing on the district’s fairways, and amid these conversations, they fear the worst..
“If they can keep them open keep them open,” said Parinello. “It’s such a community treasure. We would hate to see them close,” echoed McConville.
The RPD hopes to announce plans by August. The Rockford Park District will hold two other community meetings on Tuesday, July 17th at Ingersoll Golf Course and Wednesday, August 1st at Rockford Bank & Trust Pavilion at Aldeen Golf Club. Both meetings are set to begin at 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.