Council: $84,000 to Keep Golf Courses Open

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With a week until the final Lansing budget is due, the future of two of the city's golf courses is far from certain.

Despite a couple of courses being closed for most of April, Lansing golfers have been contributing a fair amount to the city coffers so far this season.

"Our numbers are looking good at the moment. On a daily basis, we're doing very well business-wise," city golf manager Don Ballard said.

The city has taken in close to $88,000 this season. But it's not enough, according to Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero.

"The reality is we subsidize golf courses. Every year they lose money. This isn't about good or bad, this is good or vital," Bernero said.

So the mayor has proposed selling Waverly and Red Cedar, but hanging onto Groesbeck and the practice center at the old Sycamore course. The idea doesn't sit well with some council members.

"We've heard form a lot of people that we need to continue to look at this," Councilwoman Carol Wood said.

Opposition from some on the council led to the reopening of Waverly and Red Cedar for the time being.

Now, Wood says council members received a report showing how much general fund money the city would have to spend to keep all the courses open the whole year.

"We're looking at around $84,000 which is a lot different than the numbers that have been thrown around," Wood said, in reference to earlier projections from the mayor's office.

Wood, Council President Harold Leeman, Jr. and Councilman Randy Williams say they're inclined to find that money in the budget. Mayor Bernero says the city can't afford it. He wants to see the idea on November's ballot.

"Let the people decide if this is a priority," Bernero said.

The mayor has a few council members willing to put the issue on the ballot, including Councilman Tim Kaltenbach and Councilwoman Kathie Dunbar. But the referendum idea remains in a city council committee, and it's not clear whether the plan will make it to the ballot.

Meantime, the city's golf manager says he's just wants to see more golfers on the city courses.

"Hope it doesn't ran in may," Ballard said.

The council has another budget workshop set for this week.