Cedar Rapids, Iowa’s other three municipal courses will stay open, but the city announced that the Jones course, which has only had nine holes open for only eight days since early September, would be closed nearly two months earlier than it was last year. The property sits on Prairie Creek and has seen 25 flood events leading to 22 full or partial closures since 2001, including each of the last four years.
Struggles continue for Jones Golf Course, the worst financial performer of the four municipal courses in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, reported The Gazette of Cedar Rapids.
City officials announced on October 15 that because of recent and repeated flooding, the Jones course has officially closed for the 2018 season, The Gazette reported. By comparison, it closed in December last year.
“The Parks and Recreation Department does not anticipate that water levels will recede in time for water-damaged areas to be repaired before winter,” a statement from the city said.
The back nine holes have been closed since September 4, The Gazette reported, while the front nine has only been open for eight days since then, according to the statement.
Cedar Rapids’ other municipal courses—Ellis, Gardner and Twin Pines—will remain open as weather permits, The Gazette reported.
Flooding has made the Jones course the biggest culprit in a city golf department that has been bleeding financially for years, The Gazette reported.
Last month, city officials said a number of initiatives to close the deficit had been paying off, but then two more floods further disrupted the golf season at Jones, which sits on Prairie Creek.
A 2016 internal report found that Jones experienced 25 flood events leading to 22 full or partial closures since 2001, and that it has had closures each of the past four seasons, The Gazette reported. Flooding episodes can cost $15,000 to $20,000 each time to repair the grounds, but the bigger hit is lost income when golfers can’t play, city officials have said.
City Council last year rebuffed a plan to close Jones as a key mechanism to stabilize golf finances, leaving property taxpayers to continue to bail out the department, The Gazette reported. The city’s staff has not followed through on a council directive to study privatizing golf operations.
Over a five-year period, Jones was responsible for $803,719 of $1.1 million in golf program losses, the city reported in 2017.
Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation Director Scott Hock said last month that the city is on the right track in reducing operating losses, but noted that it plans to analyze the system after the close of the season, The Gazette reported. City officials did not have new information about the review process when announcing the Jones course closing on October 15th.
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