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RedGate: Like a "House that is falling apart"

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Published on: Friday, April 23, 2010

By Paige L. Hill


If you’re a duffer in Rockville, you’re probably not going to be happy.

The Red Gate golf course may not survive without funding from the city of Rockville as is proposed in the budget for fiscal year 2011, and the revenue from the city’s speed camera project falling short of the budget’s prediction may be to blame.

“We are facing a fiscal crisis with Red Gate and it’s like a house that is falling apart,” Rockville Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio said. “I would hate to think we are neglecting the course just because we don’t have the money to operate it right this moment.”

“Some of these losses are from the significant lower spending in the speed cam project,” said Burt Hall, director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department at Monday’s city council meeting.

The department has funded the golf course in the past, giving Red Gate $372,000 in 2005 as part of a five-year business plan meant to rehabilitate the course. Red Gate representatives say their fiscally precarious situation could mean its closing in the near future without continued support from an “enterprise fund.”

“The course has been highlighted as one of the recreational centers in financial straits right now,” said Joe Jordan, the chairman of the Red Gate Advisory Board. Jordan, who calls himself the “one man band” for Red Gate. Parks and Recreation’s fiscal 2012 budget could see a bump of $700,000, some of which could go towards the course, but Jordan fears the course may not survive in the meantime.

“At the end of five years, the course wasn’t supposed to need this money any more,” Hall said. Parks and Recreation’s proposed $11.8 million budget is already $4.5 million less than they had hoped for. The fiscal 2011 budget proposes using the money for asphalt improvements, street landscaping, park enhancements for disabled children, and maintenance.

“Even with these necessary spending decreases, we are looking at a lot less than we are used to,” Hall said. “We just don’t have room in our budget for Red Gate.”

But, Marcuccio and council members were not satisfied.

“I think we should at least give the course a chance to prove its value in the next year,” said councilwoman Bridget Newton.

“Is the course in such good shape that it doesn’t need any improvements?” Marcuccio said.

“We’ve done a number of improvements to the course, and there is simply no immediate capital for spending on more,” Hall answered.

About $311,000 of the $372,500 has been spent on landscaping, golf cart improvements, redoing the driving range and installing a new system to help a golfer identify how far away a ball is from the green.

“My understanding is that a business plan was drawn up that involved the best investment of the money towards making the course viable,” Hall said. One option could be selling part of the course and turning Red Gate into a 9-hold course, but Jordan says there is no market for a 9-hole course in Rockville.

 “What I’m worried about right now is that the green could be taken over and turned into a number of ideas that are being discussed,” Jordan said, mentioning a stadium for premiere league basketball among them. “It is the single largest piece of undeveloped land in the city.”

“At this point we are not entertaining proposals,” Hall said. “Red Gate is in a state of flux—we already put hundreds of thousands of dollars into it.”

“We would have no objection if they chose a company to manage the golf course, we just want to preserve this place,” Jordan said. “It’s a special place.”

Reader Comments - 3 Total

captcha 14bf579752af42c19458a4de4713894c

Posted By: bill On: 4/27/2010

Title: so

Golf is a game. If it can't support itself, Rockville should sell it.

Posted By: Bill On: 4/26/2010

Title: No brainer

1. This is precisely what happens when government attempts to collect revenue from vices. Government penalizes citizens for speeding, smoking etc. purportedly for their own good. Eventually people either drop the vice habits or they adapt around it. Speeders merely slow down at the cameras or program their GPS to beep there. Smokers merely buy online, out of state, roll their own or quit. Never should a government expect to maintain revenue from vices. The intent in taxation was to get people to drop vices. Eventually you get a government that secretly hopes its citizens would continue violations and vices in order to remain funded.
2. Rockville - over budget, under funded, bloated bureaucracy. Almost every now-bankrupt municipality has attempted to run recreational businesses with disastrous results.
3. Poor city has not enough innocent people to bilk out of their hard earned cash, cut a half to the defense corporations that install cameras & detectors, funnel the other half to those poor rich golfers. All while education is stressed, roads need repair, water infrastructure crumbles, EMT & fire services struggle. Rock on, Rockville!!

Posted By: Former Rockville Golfer. On: 4/23/2010

Title: RedGate: Like a "House that is falling apart"

Reading this article brought to mind the old Cary Grant film 'Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House' wherin one of the contractors hired by Cary and his wife seek an opinion on the 'quaint' farmhouse that they purchased. The contractor had three words for them. 'TEAR IT DOWN'.
I suggest that the Rockville City Council do the same...
Focus on city services to the betterment of all.......that need them.
A golf course run by the City is not needed.....if it can't sustain itself.


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