County Commissioners undecided on golf course issue

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Some golfers may have to find another sport to play 18 holes. Shawnee County Commissioners are looking at an analysis of county golf courses. They have to decide if they county should continue operating those greens.

Ron Fagan drives to Forbes Golf Course from Lawrence every week to tee off with his buddies. He sees the value in maintaining the course, but Shawnee County Commissioners aren’t so sure.

“We need to make sure that we’re providing the best quality service we can for our citizens at the best value,” Commissioner Bob Archer said at the meeting Thursday morning.

Commissioners have accepted a white paper from Shawnee County Parks and Recreation director John Knight. It’s a report on how well the county has run its three golf operations at Lake Shawnee, Cypress Ridge and Forbes. With this information, commissioners now have to decide if operating all three is the best course of action – or if one needs to close.

“I do know that Forbes is the least productive of the three golf courses and probably always will be, it’s handicap is that it has 9 holes, it doesn’t attract the big events and that’s where the money is made,” Knight says.

But Knight adds his report shows the money the three courses bring in covers 85% of the operating costs. He says if Forbes was turned into something else, the county would lose that needed revenue. Right now, it’s not clear what the solution is.

“I really don’t know yet, I think everything is on the table,” Archer says.

“There’s a lot of the information in there takes a while to digest and they’re big decisions that will take a lot of time, I expect a lot of discussion between now and when a final budget for 2014 is approved,” says Knight.

Knight says a decision needs to be made by August for his budget deadline. County Commissioners approved his request Thursday morning to buy a $22,000 irrigation pump for the Lake Shawnee golf course.

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