Friends of Fort Ridgely State Park hopes to convince the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to keep the nine-hole golf course open in Fairfax, Minn., by offering volunteers to maintain and operate the facility. The group also hopes to encourage area groups to donate youth green fees to cultivate a new generation of golfers.
The Friends of Fort Ridgely State Park hopes to persuade the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to keep the Fort Ridgely Golf Course in Fairfax, Minn., open by offering to help increase its revenues while also volunteering to reduce its costs, the Willmar, Minn., West Central Tribune reported.
The Friends of Fort Ridgely is offering to “work alongside the DNR as a partner,’’ the group stated in a news release.
The DNR announced earlier this season that it intends to close the nine-hole course. Dennis Frederickson, director of the DNR’s Southern region, told the Mankato Free Press it lost $125,000 last year. He and other DNR officials said a golf course doesn’t fit with state park amenities, the Tribune reported.
The Friends group has been urging the DNR to maintain the course. It attracts many visitors to the park, and the DNR invested more than $1.5 million a decade ago to rehabilitate it, they said. The group hopes the offer will persuade the DNR to continue to operate the golf course through the 2016 season and beyond. The group would help reduce the operating losses by soliciting memberships and volunteering at the course. The volunteers would assist golfers in the registration process to assure that the proper fees are collected, the Tribune reported.
The Friends group said it would also encourage area groups to donate youth green fees to cultivate a new generation of golfers. And, its members would lead a campaign to market state park license plates when they are available this October, the Tribune reported.
“Going forward, the Friends of Fort Ridgely will work to facilitate a new partnership to negotiate a concession agreement for the 2017 season and beyond, to lease and operate the golf course,’’ stated the Friends group in the news release.
The group also would sponsor school days and events that could bring more visitors to the park, along with support additional state funding for the Parks and Trails Division. The Friends group has requested a meeting with the DNR regarding the offer and is waiting for a response, the Tribune reported.