The City Council of Fort Worth, Texas has approved $1.7 million towards what will be a $4.8 million project for the historic course, which hasn’t had a major update since originally designed by John Bredemus more than 75 years ago.
The historic Rockwood Golf Course in Fort Worth, Texas is one step closer to a redesign, with the unanimous approval on September 9 by the Fort Worth City Council to partially fund improvements with $1.7 million in gas-lease revenue royalties, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
Rockwood CG, which hasn’t had a major update since it was built more than 75 years ago, will be given new greens, tees, fairways, irrigation and drainage systems, and new golf cart paths. The total cost will be $4.8 million, the Star-Telegram reported.
The renovation received $2 million from a bond package that voters approved in May, and the remaining funds will come from gas royalties dedicated to parks, said Nancy Bunton, Assistant Director of Parks and Community Services. Councilman Sal Espino, whose district includes the course just northwest of downtown, hopes the makeover will spur revitalization of the area along Jacksboro Highway, the Star-Telegram reported.
“Rockwood Golf Course can and should be our showcase golf course,” Espino said. “We can generate enough rounds through folks who come into town for conventions, it is centrally located, we have a great partnership with the First Tee, and there has been a lot of investment in Rockwood Golf.”
Bunton hopes the update will make the course more competitive with private courses and help dig the municipal golf program, which is supposed to be self-sustaining, out of a deep financial hole, the Star-Telegram reported.
The Council members also unanimously voted to erase an $8.7 million debt the golf program owed to the City’s general fund, the Star-Telegram reported. And the city’s proposed budget for fiscal 2015 has allocated $850,000 to subsidize the golf program, which Espino likened to municipal pools and athletic fields.
“I think all great cities have to offer that, it is about quality of life,” he said. “It is all about being a world-class city, so we have to invest in all the amenities.”
The city’s subsidizing the program in advance helps with financial planning, Burton noted.
“In the past, we have always been instructed when we submit the budget that we have to submit a balanced budget,” she said. “To get to the balanced budget, we had to add additional rounds to show additional revenue. What this allows us to do is look more realistically at what we can do in the total number of rounds, based on the fees that we charge.”
The proposed remodeling of Rockwood could stabilize the program by taking the course from losing $200,000 a year to making about $300,000, Bunton said.
Rockwood would close for remodeling in November 2015 and is expected to reopen in September 2016. The driving range and the short course, the River’s Edge, will remain open, the Star-Telegram reported.
“The whole goal” said Bunton, “is not to have the city subsidize us for the next 30 years. My hope is that ten years from now we are breaking even or even making money, and that we don’t need a subsidy anymore.”