GREENVILLE, PITT COUNTY - The Greenville City Council met in a workshop Monday night to consider a five-year plan suggested to ensure the long-term viability for the public course called Bradford Creek Golf Course.
In January, Golf Convergence, a consulting firm out of Colorado, proposed an initial capital investment of $400,000 and then $130,000 every year after that. NewsChannel 12 spoke with Gary Fenton, the director of Greenville's Recreation and Parks, about the initial proposal and the new ideas.
"The challenge of identifying $400,000 instantly for the next year was just not feasible. So, we've come back to say ‘we can't do anywhere near that initially, can we do some every year over the next 5 years?'," Fenton said.
Fenton said they haven't made a lot of major improvements to the course since they purchased it from a private owner more than ten years ago.
"We had done very little capital improvements over many, many years because we were trying to recover all of our expenses through revenues, and we knew we couldn't do that if we added to our expenses," he said.
However, the debt they owed is now paid off and the city would like to break even. That means the course would essentially pay for itself through its revenue from people playing the course and having events in the clubhouse. The city projects the golf course to make roughly $815,000 in the next year. However, it costs $866,000 per year to cover the upkeep of the course.
To solve this problem, city staff members suggested using $50,000 in subsidized or tax-payer money each year. The course is part of the general fund so it is not considered debt, according to Fenton. Staff also proposed other measures to cut costs, including increasing fees by $2.00 for each round of golf, eliminating a full-time position and replacing it with part-time positions and narrowing the fairways to allow for less time mowing.
Golfers we talked with said they are okay with paying a few extra dollars to play at the course.
"I know that all golf courses are having problems making any money. Of course, this is not a course to make money, but I think the rates are good now and if they went up a few dollars, I don't think that would keep us away," golfer Frank Merritt said.
"I like the exercise. I like the challenge and I like to get out in this nice weather we have here. [The course is in] pretty good shape right now, if they keep it up like this, it will be fine," golfer Bob Causin said.